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On the first day of reopening, Maharashtra colleges receive a lukewarm response.

On the first day of reopening, Maharashtra colleges receive a lukewarm response.
October 21
09:39 2021

Today was college reopening day, but many of the ones visited had a ghostly look to them or their security guards had prepared a speech for the media outside.
Outside the Narsee Monjee (NM) college in Vile Parle, the guards said, “Aaj ke bare main sab students ko WhatsApp pe message mile hain. Hum kuch nahin jaanthey (all students were notified about today via WhatsApp). I’m completely clueless.” This was in response to a question about no students seen outside the institute’s gate.

The Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) next door, we were told, had not yet begun offering offline classes. Meanwhile, colleges such as Kishinchand Chellaram (KC) at Churchgate had only a few students, and St. Xaviers College near the Metro cinema appeared to be as deserted as it had been during the pandemic.

We went to a few more colleges, but none of them seemed ready to reopen. A PRO at a suburban college said she would record videos of the activity inside the college, as well as all of the management’s preparations, while keeping COVID-19 precautions in mind, and send them to us. No students, however, were seen entering the college.

A student or two was seen coming out of the gate at some colleges. They said there were no lectures and the class was mostly empty, so they decided to call it a day when they were asked. One student whose mother was waiting for him in the car said his mother was worried and had decided to wait for her until her day’s lectures were over. “My mother, on the other hand, had to wait a long time. In half an hour, I was out of college. There was nothing going on inside.”

Some students who were found loitering on street corners told  that they had visited the college but that there were few people there and that even professors were absent. They had decided to take a walk outside and eat something because there was no food in the canteens.

When asked about social distancing, they said it was easy to maintain because there were so few students in class. They claimed that all students wore masks inside and carried hand sanitizers in their bags, which they used liberally throughout the day.

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