An IIT Kharagpur student staying in its campus on Wednesday tested positive for COVID-19, following which the institute decided to seal all the hostels, an official said. The institute had in June asked all students, who got stranded because of lockdown, to leave the campus by June 30 and return two months later for the next semester, but a few of them remained there.
The student who was infected with coronavirus was one of them, said the official who does not want to be quoted.
"The student was sent to Kolkata," he said without elaborating.
The hostel where the student was staying was sanitised, the official said.
"All students who are presently staying in the campus must vacate the Halls (hostels) latest by Aug 23, 2020, and proceed to their hometowns," a notice issued by the institute's hall management centre said.
Prior to this incident, IIT Kharagpur authorities have decided to ask its students not to come back to the campus for the next semester, the classes for which will be held on-line from September, its Registrar B N Singh told PTI.
"The COVID-19 situation is still alarming and we cannot endanger the health of our children. We have asked the guardians not to send their wards to the institute till asked," Singh said.
The institute would follow the advisories of the West Bengal and central governments regarding the opening of campuses and assess the situation periodically on its own, he said.
It may take two-three months more for the students to return to the campus though public transport has partially resumed, Singh said.
"However, online classes for the next semester will not be delayed. It will start from September and students will be asked to attend those classes from home," he said.
Asked what would happen to those students living in remote areas with poor connectivity or those not having smartphones or computers at home, Singh said, "They will have a way out I think. They can use smartphones of others and avail network facility from a connected place nearby."
Besides, if a student is unable to attend classes due to these issues, he or she would be allowed to have special classes later to clear the backlog after the resumption of campus activities.
The institute has around 12,500 students and researches who stay at hostels.