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IIT-B may open campus to a few final-year undergrads

IIT-Bombay is likely to reopen its campus for a limited number of final-year undergraduate students in the upcoming spring semester, after assessing their laboratory requirements and willingness. So far, just PhD and second-year MTech students were allowed on campus.

The plan, though, will be evaluated based on feedback from IIT-Madras, which was shut following a spurt in Covid cases.

While the institute’s senate is yet to finalise the academic plan for the semester, officials say given the pandemic situation, classes will be conducted online in all likelihood. Students facing resource constraints in attending online classes, though, may be allowed on campus too.

While the final semester does not involve much laboratory work, many who have opted for projects may require the institute’s resources, said a professor. “Though there are some who can manage their projects remotely using simulation, others may have to rely on laboratory work. The numbers could be small but the institute may allow them only if they are willing to return to the campus and if their guides approve their requirements.”

There are also students who live in remote areas and have been facing difficulties in attending online classes. “There are problems with internet connectivity, erratic power supply or just space constraints. If such students want to return to campus, the institute may consider applications on a case-to-case basis,” said a professor. The institute’s senate will meet soon to finalise the mode of conduct of lectures in the spring semester, starting January.

IIT-B director Subhasis Chaudhuri confirmed the institute is looking at allowing undergraduate students in smaller groups, especially the ones who have projects in their final year. It will be completely voluntary though, he said, adding the plan will be evaluated based on feedback they receive from Chennai.

A final-year student said many who have bagged offers and do not have a project may not consider returning. He said some who have opted for the honours programme or final-year dual-degree students may have lab work. For some final-year students, lab work in the autumn semester was deferred; they may be allowed now, said the student. “Students may be called sometime after January, depending on the pandemic.”