Institutions like CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), IISER Pune, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE) and Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute have allowed a small strength of the student community to remain on campus.
Students in their advanced stages of doctoral studies attached to a number of research institutions in Pune have preferred to stay back during the ongoing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
In early March last year, most of these campuses had sent home their students as soon as Covid-19 was rearing its head in India. While this may be true with some colleges and universities in the city even this year, institutions like CSIR – National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE) and Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute have allowed a small strength of the student community to remain on the campus.
Many of these institutions offer full-time residential courses of three to five years starting at the undergraduate level onwards going up to post-doctoral studies. Their course work is a combination of laboratory, field visits and theoretical work, making it a challenging situation for the hosting institutes, especially keeping the virus at bay.
“We have restricted students from working in groups at the laboratories. Students involved in theoretical and non-laboratory studies have been asked to remain in their hostel rooms, mostly designed with single person occupancy per room,” said senior scientist Dr BLV Prasad, Chairman, Student Academic Council at NCL.
At least 120 senior students are currently residing on the NCL, which is not a fully residential campus.
Prasad informed that the students living outside the NCL campus have been issued special precautionary guidelines given the present Covid-19 situation in Pune.
For the neighbouring IISER, students were given a choice of returning home when the Covid-19 cases in the city began to rise about a month ago.
“But that was voluntary and most students chose to stay back as traveling posed its own risk. The campus presently houses fourth and fifth-year student batches of the BS-MS along with a handful of senior students,” said Professor Sanjeev Galande, Dean, Research and Development at IISER.
With a larger number of students continuing to live on campus, IISER has dedicated two floors at its hostel building along with a wing of the guest house solely towards isolation, in case any student tests Covid positive. Presently, about 1,000 students are living and studying on the campus and they visit labs in batches, informed Galande.
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In view of the rising cases, the IISER administration reduced its staff involved in housekeeping and campus maintenance. Besides, a temporary facility for them to stay on the campus, if need be, has been made available.
At GIPE and Deccan College, a few PhD students are living on their respective campuses, informed officials.
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