The UGC has recently asked all universities and colleges to address the challenges of COVID-19 and ensure the physical and mental health, the safety of all the stakeholders. As per the directions, the HEIs are required to constitute a task force and form helplines, arrange for counsellors and mentors at the institute.
“At IIIT Delhi, the institute had set up a COVID care committee last year with the onset of the pandemic to address the problems faced by the students and teachers. These problems are analysed in surveys and meetings and the members try to resolve it through the newly setup COVID care committee,” says Pushpendra Singh, dean, academic affairs, IIIT Delhi.
A Covid Response Team (CRT) has been set up at IIT Guwahati to manage the health problems. The team consists of members from the administration, professors, student gymkhana council, hostel management committee and student volunteers.
“The team evaluates the situation and members introduce newer ways of working and teaching, focusing on the emotional, physical and mental health of students. The CRT has been responsible for implementing Covid guidelines inside the campus. Besides this, the Institute has three full-time employed counsellors that are available on call to the students 24/7. Also, an online counselling app YourDost with over 900+ experts for counselling sessions was launched. Online Yoga classes were introduced for promoting mental peace. A Student helpline portal was launched where students could get support for accommodation, food, online classes, attendance, examinations, scholarships, health, transport, etc, ” says TG Sitharam, director, IIT Guwahati.
To uplift the sedentary lives of the students and teachers, Jagdish Sheth School of Management in Karnataka has initiated an online programme on Wellness and Physical fitness. “Students work out with our fitness trainers every morning via Zoom and also practice yoga and Zumba. The programme is not voluntary but compulsory as assessments of physical fitness have also been adapted online,” says Atish Chattopadhyay, director, JAGSOM.
A Covid Action Committee was launched at BMU to address the wellbeing and organises webinars on Yoga, meditation etc. A senior counsellor helps in uplifting the mood and mental health of students and teachers,” says Mohit Bawa, dean, student welfare and administration, BML Munjal School.
The Wellness Centre of IIT Madras has been working on easing the burden. “There is a circulation of quality-of-life-enhancing and positivity-infusing content through emails. Frequent surveys are being conducted to understand student concerns which are followed by tailoring programmes/sessions to address the same. Seminars and workshops have been conducted at regular intervals by external resource persons on themes such as Mindfulness practice as a proactive measure,” says Nilesh J Vasa, dean (Students), IIT Madras.