The decision to evacuate the hostels taken by the University of Hyderabad earlier today came after reviewing how many students complied with the advisory given last Sunday to return to their homes.
A substantial number of students continuing to stay in the hostels in close proximity, without taking social distancing seriously, pose the threat of contagion not only to themselves but to others. With escalation in the number of infected people in Hyderabad/Telangana, a major outbreak on our campus would be disastrous to our entire campus community.
Additional matters of concern that were noticed and considered are:
- It has been reported that non-UoH students are residing in the hostels with their friends against norms, while working in IT companies
- Some students have a travel history abroad without taking approval of the competent authority for such visits
- Despite preventive/reduction measures announced from time to time,
a) students have been going outside the campus to places like malls and restaurants and returning late in the evening, leading to an uncertain situation and endangering other stakeholders and their family members living on the campus
b) Large gatherings of students have been seen late nights near the hostels and other places, socializing and engaging in discussions, thus defeating the very purpose of social distancing
- In spite of hostels working to provide basic mess facilities, large number of students have been ordering food from food delivery platforms. Regulating such contacts with outside persons entering the campus has been difficult
- The Campus Health Centre can only basic level support and the University will find very tough to firefight in case a community outbreak takes place. It is also not possible to create an isolation centre in the hostels when a large population of students continue to stay on the campus
- The University has a large residential area for students (about 4,500), and therefore a strong advisory was issued last week asking them to vacate the hostels. The students defied the advisory and continued to stay on (estimated to be around 2,000), thus creating a situation of grave proportion for other stakeholders, including the families of staff and faculty living on the campus
- Last week, the University made an appeal to students to form volunteer groups to assist in maintaining hygiene and providing rapid inputs of suspected cases to the Core COVID-19 team of the University. The university is not aware of any group that has come forward.
With the Central and State governments escalating the measures they are taking to contain the spread of the virus, we are left with little choice other than to send our students back to the safety of their homes and to the care of their families.
We have taken this action to evacuate the hostels with a great degree of responsibility and in the best interests of the most important stakeholders–our students. We look forward to welcoming back all our current students and fresh students seeking to join us next academic year to a healthier and safer campus as soon as the city and the country tide over this unprecedented crisis.