After remaining shut for almost the entire academic session last year, degree colleges in Kashmir reopened on Monday amid partial attendance of students and strict COVID-19 SOPs put in place by the government.
The institutions operated for barely two weeks in the 2020 academic session before the COVID-19 pandemic enforced a country wide lockdown in March bringing life to a standstill.
The curtains officially came down on the session after the Higher Education Department announced the winter vacation for J&K colleges- from December 26 –January 4 in Summer Zone and December 28-February 14 in Kashmir and Winter Zone Jammu.
With the pandemic relatively calming down, the department on January 28, announced to open the institutions in the respective divisions without any further delay albeit with strict adherence to COVID-19 SOPs, especially social distancing and wearing of masks.
The colleges reopened in the valley this morning amid a staggered attendance at many institutions already announced by the authorities.
At Abdul Ahad Azad Memorial Degree College Bemina in Srinagar, the authorities had on Wednesday announced classes for different semesters on rotational basis. The college has scheduled 2nd semester classes on Monday and Tuesday, those of 4th semester on Wednesday and Thursday and 6th semester classes on Friday and Saturday. Integrated and postgraduate classes would be conducted round the week, it said.
Likewise, Amar Singh College and SP College in Srinagar too have announced a staggered attendance of students as a precautionary measure to contain COVID-19 spread.
A teacher at Hassan Khoihami Memorial College in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district said the college also witnessed sparse attendance of students even as COVID-19 SOPs were strictly put in place there.
Meanwhile, students were excited to join the offline mode of education after a hiatus of a year altogether.
Maleeha, enrolled at Women’s College MA Road hoped the return to offline classes would be productive as compared to online classes which lacked an active involvement of face-to-face interaction that was further compounded by slow Internet in the valley.
For Soliha Zubair, a journalism student at the college, the resumption of offline classes is ideal for her subject. “The subject demands to be on the ground,” she said.