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IIT Madras shuts down as it reports spurt in Covid-19 cases

It had announced 71 infections, especially in the hostel during the last few days.
All academic departments, including labs, and the library have been shut at the IIT Madras from December 13 till further notice following a spike in Coronavirus cases with 71 infections reported (especially in the hostel) in the last few days.

Faculty are teaching online from home while only administration staff will attend office.

A statement from IIT Madras said that the institute has been functioning on limited capacity with only 10 per cent students in the hostels. As soon as a spurt in symptomatic cases was reported by some hostel students, the institute has arranged Covid-19 test for them. To be cautious, all students have been asked to remain in their rooms, and packed food is being supplied to them in the hostels.

IIT Madras has been permitting research scholars who need to do experimental work to return to campus cautiously – with a 14-day quarantine and testing of each returnee. The institute’s capacity to quarantine (with room service) is limited, and this limits the rate at which scholars can be brought back to the hostels.

Some project staff working on research projects and staying in the city have been coming to work in the labs, once the government permitted this. An SoP is in place to determine how many scholars and project staff can work safely in each lab based on its size and ventilation. Research scholars who wished to return earlier (out of turn with respect to the SoP involving quarantine before releasing into the hostels) were permitted to do so if they were willing to stay off-campus similar to project staff, till their turn came to be accepted in the hostels, and provided their lab could accommodate them, the statement said.

“We will attempt to increase our capacity to quarantine returning students since the government is releasing the hostels that they took custody to quarantine Covid-19 patients during the last seven months,” the statement said.