Hyderabad: The University of Hyderabad (UoH) on 15 April asked the students who are staying in the campus to leave in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases. At present, nearly 20 students are isolated at the university's isolation centre, Lake View Guest House.

The dean of students welfare (DSW), Professor B. Nagarjuna, said students, scholars, and teaching, non-teaching, administrative, and support staff and their family members have been affected by the coronavirus. "The situation demands utmost care and caution. Keeping in mind your health and wellbeing, all the students and scholars are requested to leave to their native place," he said.

The DSW further said they were going through an unprecedented global predicament. "Each one of us and the entire world is affected by the coronavirus pandemic; our economy, our families, communities and our entire way of life are adversely affected by the scare of infection and contagion. I would like to share your anxiety and preoccupations and express my solidarity with you and your family," Prof. Nagarjuna told the students.

In January this year, the university had reopened the campus for post-graduate students in a phased manner. UoH had earlier allowed 1300 students, including research scholars and final-semester students in the sciences and practical disciplines such as performing arts and fine arts, to return to the campus and stay in the hostels.

Meanwhile, the students are saying that to leave the campus at this moment is injudicious and insensitive. "We have been going through an extraordinary situation of the pandemic. Students and scholars have already lost their precious one year of academic lives. The Ministry of Education or UGC has not planned anything yet to compensate for the severe academic loss of research scholars. Asking students to leave campus when they are at a crucial stage in their academics is injudicious and insensitive," said Abhishek Nandan, President, Students' Union.

The student also added that it will be a hardship to leave the campus. "This is my final year and I am also preparing for UGC-NET and PhD exams. Vacating the campus will hinder my preparation for these examinations. Also, travelling back home in a 40 hours train journey is not safe at this point and it will also take a toll on my mental health," said Saurabh Kumar, a final year postgraduate student from Bihar.

"During the lockdown when I was at home, I faced problems due to internet connectivity, lack of space to study and there were lots of distractions. Hope this will remain just a request not the compulsion to vacate the campus," said Richa Kohli, a final year postgraduate student from Delhi.

The Students' Union is also saying that they are appealing to students to maintain physical distance in public spaces, library and reading room, messes and laboratories and also while using the transport facility and to follow all health protocols. "It is imperative that university administration also takes up the responsibility to make avail hand wash and sanitiser in common areas and ensure hygiene. Instead of asking students to vacate when the pandemic is spreading like a forest fire, universities should develop mechanisms to quarantine the members of the campus community who turn positive and arrange health facilities for the student community. Being responsible is the need of the time, not abandoning the students," said Abhishek Nandan.

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