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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Two days after Odisha government modified its night curfew timings and decided to close down schools and junior colleges from January 7 (today) till February 1, the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) on Friday issued another fresh order to close down all the colleges/Universities/Technical Education institutions/ under Odisha government from Jan 10 till Feb 1, 2022.

The only exception, however, are the medical, nursing colleges and institutions under control of Health and Family Welfare Department which are allowed to function. Apart from that, the government has decided to allow the ongoing offline exams up to their finish.

As per the new order, hostels at these institutions will also remain closed from Jan 10.

As the State is passing through a critical stage of pandemic due to resurgence of COVID-19 in some parts of the State, the State government felt it necessary to strictly adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols for containment of spread of the infection, Special Relief Commissioner Pradeep Jena said while announcing the new curbs for colleges and other higher and technical institutions on Friday.

He further stated in an order, “With a view to ensure strict social distancing and isolation to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Odisha in Revenue & Disaster Management (Disaster Management) Department, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 24(I) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the State Government promulgates the conditions/ stipulations in the State of Odisha till 5 AM of February 1, 2022.”

The new guidelines are as follow:

- All Colleges/ Universities/ Technical Educational Institutions (other than Medical Colleges/Nursing Colleges & Institutions under control of Health &FW Deptt.) under the superintendence of Government of Odisha shall remain closed with effect from 113th January, 2022.

- The Authorities of Colleges/ Universities/ Technical Educational Institutions shall take all appropriate measures to conduct classes through online/ virtual/ video/ other alternative method of learning mode.

- All hostels in such academic institutions will also remain closed with effect from January 10, 2022. Students will be advised to avoid staying in the hostel in the interest of their personal health. However, scholars, researchers and students who desire to stay in hostel for research/ project works or other academic activities may be permitted to do so subject to student (s) giving undertaking to that effect to the appropriate authorities of the concerned institutions.

- The concerned Departments will bring out detailed SOP/ guidelines/ circulars in this context.

- However, all ongoing offline examinations will be allowed to continue as per programme by complying to Covid appropriate behaviour.

- Teaching and non- teaching employees of Colleges/ Universities / Technical Educational Institutions shall work as per prevailing guidelines for government servants and perform duty such as taking online classes/ academic/ semi academic and administrative functions etc. as assigned to them by the authorities.

- Coaching institutions/ organisations/ individuals offering coaching services to students will not run off-line/ physical coaching/ classes. However, virtual/ on-line coaching will be permitted to continue.

Any person found violating this order will be punished under the provision of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other relevant laws.

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