MANGALURU: The National Institute of Technology (NITK) Surathkal has shelved its earlier plan to start offline classes for first-year BTech students, due to fear over the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and Covid-19 cases reported in educational institutions in the country.
As per the current plan, the institution will hold first-year BTech classes online, and may start in-person classes from next year, if the situation improves. Currently, students of other years are present on campus.
K Umamaheshwar Rao director, NITK, told STOI that one of the major reasons to give up plans for first-year BTech students to have in-person classes, is the increase in Covid-19 cases, and emergence of Omicron variant. “According to the current plan, all first-year BTech students have been informed that the academic session for the first semester will start on December 27. The classes and all the other academic activities of the semester will be held online. However, all these students have been asked to get vaccinated and prepare themselves for physical reportingon campus, as and when they are called for physical classes,” said Umamaheshwar. “When we go offline, the first year students have to arrive from across the country, as well as from foreign countries to the campus. Mass arrival of students will put other students at risk, who are already present here. So we took this decision, which will safeguard the health of the students,” he said.
He added that the campus may go completely offline from next semester, if there are not much Covid cases. The classes for all streams were online since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, and examinations too were held online. Students from second-year BTech courses and PhD scholars have arrived on campus.
“We have been advising students time and again, to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour on campus. We are cooperating with the district administration and following their guidelines,” added Umamaheshwar.