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Covid Outbreak at St Stephen’s: Associate Professor Writes To The Principal Asking For Campus To Remain Shut

After having its 13 students and two staff members test positive for Covid-19 due to a college trip, St Stephen’s College, on Monday, decided to reopen the entire campus, with just barring two blocks. An Associate Professor of Mathematics in the college wrote to the Principal outlining her concerns with the irrationality of the decision. 

A few days ago, Principal John Varghese of St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi had issued a circular to the college after 13 students and two staff members had tested positive for Covid-19 and the campus had to be shut off. The virus had spread most likely due to a college trip to Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh. 

Just four days later, the college on Monday said it will reopen its entire campus, barring two blocks, from Tuesday. Students who tested positive for Covid-19 have been quarantined in two separate buildings in these blocks.

On the basis of site visits, Covid tests are done and test results received, the SDM, Civil Lines has notified Mukherji East in Extension Block and the Sports Complex for strict perimeter control and necessary procedures for containment of Covid-19.

Principal John Varghese

He added that these two blocks will be “out of bounds for all” with effect from April 5 and “until further notice.”

On April 6th, Nandita Narain, Associate Professor at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University wrote to the Principal, Professor Varghese. The letter was in continuation with the reply to her previous letter dated 2.4.2021 in which Professor Varghese has answered some of her queries regarding the outbreak of Covid cases in College after an outstation trip.

We had been planning to start blended offline-online classes for our students after Easter. But that doesn’t look possible now. A lot of students and teachers don’t have the confidence to try and hold in-person classes because it would be too risky due to the surge in cases again.

Professor Narain

In an attempt to further know about the Covid situation and whether it is feasible to reopen the college given the recent developments, Professor Narain asks some questions that everyone needs to be asking. 

“How many students and staff were tested for Covid on Saturday, 3.4.2021? Which lab had conducted the test? What were the results of that test?,” asked Narain. 

With questions such as “Is it a fact that a student who had tested negative in the College test, tested positive in a test conducted in a Government facility, and was subsequently moved into a quarantined block? Is it a fact that a student who tested negative in the College test, but is showing symptoms of Covid, expressed the desire to get himself tested in a Government facility, but was not allowed to do so?,” Narain poses more serious questions that the St Stephen’s administration owes to its teachers and students.

She further points out that it becomes pertinent for a Government facility or a regular hospital to organise a test for College students and staff. The students exhibiting symptoms should be examined and treated in a regular hospital and the inner campus should be kept closed for a few more days.

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Annanya Chaturvedi

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