As the colleges across Kashmir have been opened after a record break of nearly eighteen months, students still feel unsafe as they have to travel to reach their colleges on public transport which has limited COVID-19 safety measures.
The colleges in the valley were reopened this week and were ordered to follow the proper COVID-19 guidelines issued by the education department. However, the students feel the journey to the colleges is fraught with dangers.
“I am scared of traveling to college via public transport because of COVID-19,” said Mehvish Mohammad, a student of Government College for Women, M.A Road Srinagar. “I am afraid of getting infected because of overcrowdedness in local transport. Plus most people don’t follow SOP.”
Mohammad said that the students are rejoining the colleges because “the online classes are being shut and there is no other source for students to study”.
Another student said: “I think students are going to face many problems like transportation is the main factor.”
“It’s unsafe for the students to travel to their college through local buses or local transport,” the student said.
The colleges in the valley are reopening properly after eighteen months, initially because of the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s limited autonomy and then the lockdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The students have already lost a year of studies, however, the classes were shifted online which didn’t help the students in Kashmir much due to the restricted internet speed.
Pandurang. K. Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir told The Kashmir Walla that the students should be precautious. “At least a mask and sanitizer is necessary. That’s how we can try to prevent the spread.”
“Looking at the reduction in COVID-19 cases in Kashmir, the administration took a decision of reopening educational institutes,” he said. “The last session happened online, couldn’t move it like that further as students required offline classes now,” he said.