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Follow SOPs to keep Covid at bay, officials tell colleges

The district recorded 117 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, even as 106 patients were discharged from treatment centres. The district presently has 1,048 active cases.
While the district has logged 50,677 Covid-19 cases so far, 48,998 have recovered till date. The recovery rate stands at 96.6%.
The Covid-19 toll, meanwhile, remained static at 631, as the district didn’t record any fatalities on the day.
In the wake of IIT-Madras turning into a Covid-19 cluster, which is growing bigger, health department officials are conducting meetings with college principals to ensure strict adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent such an outbreak in the district.

On Tuesday, officials visited the Bharathiar University to check compliance with the SOPs. Later, they conducted an online meeting with the principals of its affiliated colleges.

G Ramesh Kumar, deputy director of public health, said, “We insist on wearing face masks throughout the day wherever they are on the college campus, be it in laboratories, classrooms, mess and hostel.”

In hostel rooms with four beds next to each other, he said they had asked them to provide enough space in-between to ensure social distancing. Also, only 50% of the student strength would be allowed on the campus at any given day.

Colleges have also been asked to come up with a mechanism to screen the students and teachers. “They have to be screened for temperature while entering the campus. The same procedure should be followed for hostel inmates as well. Colleges should also find a way to disinfect all common areas such as libraries, canteens, messes, classrooms, hostel elevators and corridors daily,” the officer said.

He said students and teachers from containment zones shouldn’t be allowed on the campus and mess staff, who are unwell, shouldn’t be allowed to work.

Colleges have also been advised to keep libraries and canteens closed as much as possible to avoid overcrowding. “We have also advised the students coming from other districts to get tested at a nearby primary health centre before mingling with other students and starting classes,” said a health department official.

According to the SOPs issued by the state government, students should be given the option of e-learning even after the commencement of classes on the campus.