The Human Resource Development ministry in a recently released circular has directed that the teachers, researchers, non-teaching staff members should be permitted and advised to work from home until July 31, 2020. The circular has been released as MHA guidelines for phased reopening (Unlock 2)
The circular released has also asked the University Grants Commission, the All India Council for Technical Education, National Testing Agency and the other autonomous organizations function under the Department of Higher Education to make sure that colleges and educational institutions will be closed until July 31, 2020. The circular has also advised that precautions required for ensuring the safety of the Faculty Members/ Teachers/ Researchers/ Non-Teaching staff members of the educational institutions and the students studying in the hostels must be taken.
Online or distance learning should also be continued to be permitted and encouraged as per the MHRD circular. Along with this, the ministry has asked the Chief Secretaries of all the states and Union Territories to consider the guidelines for the Higher Educational Institutions under their control.
Teachers advised to Utilize Time on Hand
The Circular which was issued on June 30, 2020, has also stated that the Faculty Members/ Teachers/ Researchers should utilize this time for different academic activities. The time at hand will be counted as ‘On Duty’ for the teachers or researchers and the non-teaching staff members including ad-hoc and contract teachers whose contracts are valid at least until July 31, 2020.
The circular further stated that the Aarogya Setu App enables easy identification of potential risk infection and so it may be ensured that the Aarogya Setu App must be installed by the students, faculty members, and employees.
The HRD Minister had last week asked the UGC to revisit the guidelines issued earlier for intermediate and terminal semester examinations and the academic calendar due to the increasing cases of COVID-19 in the country.