Colleges in Kashmir reopen after a year amid COVID-19 protocol

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The colleges across Kashmir reopened today after remaining shut for more than eighteen months, initially because of the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and then due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The students in Srinagar colleges seemed happy after meeting their friends and rejoining offline classes. “We lost a year, so I was excited to come here [college] today,” said Humaira Ahad, a student of Arts at Government college of Women, Srinagar.

The educational institutes in Kashmir have been closed since 5 August 2019, following the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The schools and colleges were later reopened in February 2020 but were immediately closed due to the outbreak of the pandemic. 

During the initial pandemic months, the classes were shifted to online mode across the globe but the students in Kashmir faced many difficulties due to the restricted internet speed. “They would teach online but it wasn’t as good as offline classes,” said Ahad.

Earlier, the order issued by the School Educational Department before reopening of educational institutes has urged all students and teachers to follow all the Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs). The schools across Kashmir will reopen on 1 March.

“Our teachers were ensuring that everybody was following the SOPS properly today,” said Mantasha, another student of Government College for Women, Srinagar.

Despite the implementation of protocols in all the colleges, the number of students attending was low. “We all were wearing masks and using sanitizer,” said Mantasha.

The J-K administration on Sunday said that the colleges in J-K will likely function in odd-even or staggered manner formula. 

The colleges in the Jammu division were reopened on 1 February.

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