In a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19, hostels in various University of Delhi (DU) colleges have issued strict guidelines, where Hansraj College has asked the students to vacate the hostel.
Colleges across DU, in addition to suspending classes, have also asked students to follow strict guidelines in order to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus. In certain cases, the colleges have even asked students to vacate the hostel campuses.
The hostel administrations of Lady Shri Ram College, Sri Venktateswara College, Indrapastha College for Women (IPCW), and Hansraj College have asked students to leave the hostel premises. On 16th March 2020, the Hostel administrations of Hansraj College and IPCW released a notice asking hostellers to vacate the premises within 48 hours as a measure to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus. The students were asked to not be in the hostel from 18th March to 31st March, as a precautionary measure. The students of IPCW were asked to go to their local guardians and were also asked to not step out of the college for any other reason.
However, this sudden order has caused problems for various students who suddenly have to make arrangements to go back home or find an alternate residence in Delhi. Speaking to DU Beat, Vinay Pratap Singh, a third-year student at Hansraj College said “It’s very difficult for 3rd year students as we are having upcoming Masters entrance examination and it’s difficult to get all those readings to home, and some students can’t even afford to go.”
“Yes it will affect our studies, most of us will try to stay in Delhi maybe at friends’ houses but in this case people will suffer economic burden, which isn’t fair, but we can’t do anything because of this pandemic.”
“Many students belong to remote parts of the country and it isn’t as easy for them to make travel arrangements quickly. The hostel administration in this situation could’ve chosen to take measures to quarantine the hostel or take other safety measures, but right now we have no choice but to comply.”
However, experts have said that asking students to vacate might not be the wisest of moves. “I don’t think they should be sent even if a coronavirus case is detected,” said T Sundararaman, global coordinator, People’s Health Movement, in conversation with Careers360. “While there is aggregation in the campus, there is aggregation in the community too. It is not only during the travel that they put others or themselves at risk, but the community is also there. It can be catastrophic.”
Forcing students to vacate hostels in the middle of a pandemic means making them travel. “They should not be travelling in a crowded bus or train. They should not be in a group,” said another public health expert on the condition of anonymity. But making students leave campus will compel them to do just that – take buses, planes or trains home. “Younger people are at lesser risk,” she continued, “But they could very well be the carriers of the virus and that is why they should not mingle in a crowd.”
Other hostels in DU have not gone for such drastic measures yet, they have stuck to advising students to not roam around needlessly and take necessary health precautions. Kirori Mal College has asked hostellers to stay inside the premises and has banned the entry of anyone from outside, including hostellers who had gone outside temporarily. Daulat Ram College has too issued a precautionary notice requesting students to avoid going out.
Across the country, institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have also asked students to vacate hostels. What remains to be seen is whether authorities from remaining DU Hostels will follow suit.
Feature Image Credits: Aakarsh Gupta for DU Beat
Khush Vardhan Dembla