Mumbai, Jan 5 (IANS): As Covid-19 and its variant Omicron tighten their grip in Maharashtra, the state government has decided to shut down all non-agricultural, technical, deemed or private universities and their affiliated colleges and students hostels till February 15, officials said here on Wednesday.
The move came after Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant held a virtual conference with the Divisional Commissioners, Collectors and Vice Chancellors of various non-agricultural varsities.
Samant said that considering the safety and health aspects of the students, all colleges and varsities have agreed to conduct the classes as well as the upcoming examinations online.
However, in some districts like Nanded, Jalgaon, and Nandurbar which have connectivity problems, physical exams shall be conducted.
All varsities have been directed to set up student helplines, and in case students miss out on the online exams on account of connectivity or power supply problems, they should be given another opportunity to write their exams, the minister assured.
Similarly, if any student is unable to appear even for the online exams owing to he/she being infected by the Covid-19 or Omicron virus, or if their family members are afflicted, they will be granted a fresh opportunity to sit for the exams to ensure they don't lose an academic year.
Simultaneously, the government has decided to close down all student hostels within the jurisdiction of the varsities with advance notice for specific periods, though international students shall be allowed to stay there.
The move for colleges comes after several cities like Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad and others decided to shut down all school for Class 1 to 9 and Class 11, till January 31 in view of the massive spread of Covid-19 and Omicron, and vaccination drive for teens aged 15-18 has been taken up in a big way across the state.