Hyderabad: The University of Hyderabad (UoH) on 13 January appealed to the students residing in the university hostels to consider vacating the hostel and return to their homes at the earliest due to the rising COVID-19 cases.

"Due to the prevailing grim pandemic situation, it is requested that all the boarders plan immediately to return to their homes at the earliest provided their hometowns are not under lockdown as imposed by the state governments concerned," the appeal read.

Dean of student welfare (DSW) Professor G. Nagaraju said so far 25 students have tested positive for COVID-19 on the campus. In the last 24 hours, three people have tested positive.

"We are expecting a further rise in the cases. Hence, we are particularly appealing to the undergraduate and postgraduate students who are currently attending online classes to consider going home," he said. There are currently 3,500 hostellers at the University of Hyderabad, he added.

In response to the university's appeal, the UoH students' union has issued a statement "vehemently condemning" the appeal. Union president Abhishek Nandan said the university shouldn't ask students to go home. "Instead, the university should create an environment which is safe for students," he added.

Nandan said many students might not want to go home and that traveling right now to another city or state would also put students at risk. "A lot of students have to attend their practicals for which they have to come to the university. Several Ph.D. and postgraduate students could not finish their research and practicals properly in the last two years due to the lockdown," Nandan explained.

He said the students' union will ensure that no student is forced to vacate the hostel. "Students who feel safer on campus can continue to stay in their hostels. We hope the university understands that there are many students who would prefer to stay in the hostel," he said.

He also pointed out that some students may not have the necessary resources to attend online classes from their homes. Nandan further said that if Ph.D. scholars are sent home then it will affect their education.

Professor Nagaraju G, on the other hand, said Ph.D. scholars are not being asked to go home or vacate their hostels at the moment. "However, if the cases keep rising then the administration will take a call on whether it is compulsory or not for hostellers to go home," he said.

Amrutha Kosuru

Amrutha Kosuru is a Senior Reporter at NewsMeter. She is from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Science and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Print Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. She previously worked with The New Indian Express. She was also a contributor to the People's Archive of Rural India (PARI). Amrutha is a long-form literary reportage enthusiast and truly believes in the power of written-word storytelling. She strongly supports the LGBTQIA+ community and is a lover of everything antique and vintage. She hopes to own a well-functioning typewriter someday.

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