Know all the guidelines and SOPs for universities/colleges reopening HERE

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions nationwide are developing policies and procedures in light of the Higher Education Commission’s guidance as everyone expects the government to announce the reopening of campuses from the 15th of September, 2020.

The 31st Vice-Chancellors Committee Meeting was held online and attended by over 150 Vice Chancellors and Rectors from across the country. The meeting considered various options on related issues, including staggering of courses, class attendance, hybrid classes, hostels’ opening, health monitoring on campus, management of transport services, and SOPs for student safety.

Chairman HEC Tariq Banuri advised the university heads to announce their policy well in time, clearly and unambiguously, and share it proactively with faculty members and students.
Several Vice-Chancellors, including UVAS, KEMU, Sukkur IBA, KFUEIT, KIU, FJWU, PIFD, SBBWU, informed the meeting about the actions they had already taken under the HEC guidelines.

Others urged that VCs should be given flexibility in choosing the model that best suits their campuses’ conditions. Chairman HEC expressed appreciation for the actions already taken.
He also assured the participants that the HEC policies are based on a recognition of the diversity of conditions and said

“You are the captains of your ships, and we have full confidence in you. We hope that our universities will ensure both the safety of students and faculty and the effective delivery of educational content under your leadership.” He said all universities must maintain total vigilance to prevent and control any virus recurrence incidents, including through active surveillance of health conditions, earmarking isolation facilities, and facilitating access to medical and isolation facilities.”

There was an active discussion about two major issues, opening up of hostels and organizing transportation with proper safety protocols. It was agreed that while a single policy might not work in all conditions, most universities will have to reduce the number of students to be accommodated in hostels. Depending on their situation, universities may have to restrict residences to students with higher needs, e.g., final year students, students facing internet connectivity issues at home, students needing practical work, or first-year students.

On the other hand, universities with entirely residential setups may need to limit their resident students’ interaction with outsiders.

Regarding transportation issues, universities may publicize appropriate SOPs and organize training sessions for drivers and conductors to sensitize them to precautionary practices.

The Chairman informed the Vice Chancellors that HEC is in contact with the National Command Operation Centre, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Education to intimate them about the university strategies. After a month, the committee agreed to reconvene to review progress and adapt the strategy to the evolving situation.

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