Mohanpur, Dec. 17: 35 students were detected positive during a mass RT-PCR test for Covid 19 conducted by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata among its students living on the campus in Nadia’s Mohanpur near Kalyani early this week.
While all the affected students have been put for quarantine under the care of its own medical unit, suspending all academic and research activities for three weeks on the campus, the IISER-Kolkata authorities have decided to conduct random monthly Covid test from next month on at least among 25% of the students to continue monitoring their health condition until the pandemic situation is over.
IISER-K’s Dean of students’ affairs Balaram Mukhopadhyay said, “This has become necessary to keep an eye on the possible outbreak and to adopt a precautionary measure to combat the disease well in time”.
Following a spike of Covid positive cases among students during the first week of December in the campus, the IISER-K administration had slow down research works and also closed libraries, computer centre prohibiting all sorts of gathering and sports activities. Entry to the research complex was also made restricted with limited access to a very few students only to maintain live stocks. Even the dining facility at the canteen was replaced with take away food packets. But, eventually, the authorities decided to organize the mass Covid test, a first of its kind on the campus since the pandemic situation erupted.
The mass RT-PCR tests for Covid-19 were conducted on 530 students that include 443 hostellers with the support of the Students’ Affairs Council and Covid Volunteers in collaboration with Apollo Diagnostics. The 35 Covid positive students identified through the test have been put at the IISER-K’s visitors’ complex, which has been converted into a quarantine centre.
“Fortunately all the 35 Covid positive students are asymptomatic and most of them are having low viral loads. We have ensured utmost care for them”, said Dean of Students Affairs Balaram Mukhopadhyay.
The IISER-K authorities which in a student-friendly gesture have waived a part of the semester fees and provided laptops to the less privileged students and data pack for online learning indicated that resumption of classes will not be possible before March. Meanwhile, first-year students have been directed to stay home and join the online classes from January.
Meanwhile, 5 faculty members who live inside the campus were tested positive. However, no mass test for the faculties was arranged. The faculties got their Covid tests done at their own expense.