Students from the College of Engineering, Guindy, in Chennai may soon be receiving calls from the Chennai Corporation asking them to arrive at their campus and empty the contents of their hostel room. This is a result of the civic body's decision to take over hostel building and rooms in the institution for the purpose of quarantining individuals who are suspected to have contracted COVID-19 or who are recovering from the same.
Initially, when the Corporation had sought commitment from schools and colleges for space to accommodate suspected COVID-19 patients, the Vice Chancellor had confirmed that all available buildings will be handed over except for hostel buildings. However, upon the insistence of the civic body which emphasised that it was an 'emergency situation' college authorities were forced to comply.
In a mail to students, dean E Nataraj said, "When discussion came for using hostel buildings/rooms, honourable VC (Vice Chancellor) very firmly said all the hostel roos are locked by students where they have kept their belongings and including their academic materials and innovations/projects/papers and he will not permit any one to break open the locks and put the student's future in jeopardy. In fact this was communicated to the corporation commissioner earlier when the latter had issued a notice to our VC."
However, after 'long discussions', this decision was retracted, says the mail.
"In the interests of our fellow citizens, in case of any emergency situation, VC suggested to Corporation officials to pursue and permit students to return to campus for a day, collect all their belongings and return to their homes after depositing their room keys with the executive warden. VC also suggested to Corporation officials to facilitate and ensure students travel to Anna University campus without any hassles and also ensure their safe return to their homes with their belongings," the mail reads.
According to the Dean, if a student's room is required to quarantine someone, the contact details of the hostelier will be shared with officials of the corporation. Students will then hear from the Corporation of Chennai about the arrangement made for them to travel and collect their luggage or baggage. Either the student can come in person or depute a guardian or authorise anyone to clear their room.
"Our VC hopes that the corporation officials could adhere to providing all necessary help to the students/guardians/authorised persons to travel to the hostel in Chennai and to safely get back home with their baggage/luggage," writes the Dean. "We also further believe that the officials of the Corporation will ensure handing over buildings, being used for COVID-19 purposes, back to the university in the most hygienic state for our future use," he adds.