UGC Issues Fresh Guidelines for Reopening of Universities & Colleges : Check details inside

The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday notified guidelines for reopening of universities and colleges across the country which have been closed since March in view of the COVID-19 pandemi

UGC issued a set of detailed guidelines and said that stay of symptomatic students on campus, sharing of rooms in university, college hostels should not be allowed.

Here are the full set of guidelines issued by UGC:

To follow the advisories/guidelines/directions issued by the Central/State Government, Ministry of Education and UGC from time to time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Measures required before re-opening of Campuses

As the universities and colleges are likely to face a number of issues at the time of reopening, they will be required to plan in advance. Some of the measures, which the institutions may have to take prior to reopening, are given below:

1. Before reopening of any campus, the Central or the concerned State Government must have declared the area safe for reopening of educational institutions. The directions, instructions, guidelines and orders issued by the Central and State Government concerned regarding safety and health in view of COVID-19 must be fully abided by the higher education institutions.

2. However, they may develop stricter provisions and guidelines, if they feel it necessary. The universities and colleges have to make adequate arrangements to ensure the safety and health of students, faculty and staff.

3. The universities and colleges shall be allowed to open only if they are outside the containment zones. Further, students and staff living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend the colleges. Students and staff shall also be advised not to visit areas falling within containment zones.

4. The faculty, staff and students of the university and college should be encouraged to download ‘Aarogya Setu App’.

5. The institutions should be ready with a plan for handling the inflow of students, faculty and staff in the campus, monitoring disinfecting measures, safety and health conditions, screening and detecting the infected persons, containment measures to prevent the spread of the virus in the campus, and also alternative plan(s), in case the campus needs to be closed again due to spread of the virus in campus or in the surrounding area(s) in near future.
Modalities for Physical Opening of Colleges/Higher Education Institutions

The following modalities regarding the physical opening of Colleges/Higher Education Institutions, in a graded manner, may be adopted:

The Colleges/Higher Education Institutions outside the containment zones may be opened in a graded manner after consultations with concerned State/UT Governments and subject to adherence to the guidelines/SOP for safety and health protocol prepared by UGC, duly incorporating the view/comments of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, as under:

1. For Centrally Funded Higher Education Institutions, the Head of the Institution should satisfy herself/himself regarding the feasibility of the opening of physical classes and decide accordingly.

2. For all other Higher Educational Institutions, e.g., State Universities, Private Universities etc., opening of physical classes to be done as per the decision of the respective State/UT Governments.


  • Universities and colleges may plan opening the campuses in phases, with such activities where they can easily adhere to social distancing, use of face masks and other protective measures. This may include administrative offices, research laboratories and libraries etc.
  • Thereafter, students of all research programmes and post-graduate students in science & technology programmes may join as the number of such students is comparatively less and norms of physical distancing and preventive measures can be easily enforced.
  • Further, final year students may also be allowed to join for academic and placement purposes, as per the decision of the head of the institution.

However, for (i), (ii) and (iii) above, it should be ensured that not more than 50% of the total students should be present at any point of time and necessary guidelines/protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are observed.

  • For the programmes, other than those mentioned in paras 3.3 (ii) and (iii) above, online/distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged.
  • However, if required, students may visit their respective departments in a small number for consultation with the faculty members, after seeking prior appointments to avoid crowding, while maintaining physical distancing norms and other safety protocols.
  • Some students may opt not to attend classes and prefer to study online while staying at home. Institutions may provide online study material and access to eresources to such students for teaching-learning.
  • Institutions should have a plan ready for such international students who could not join the programme due to international travel restrictions or visa-related issues. Online teaching-learning arrangements should also be made for them.

Institutional Planning

Institutional planning is the key for the successful reopening of the campuses and smooth conduct of the teaching-learning process during these difficult times. The universities and colleges will, therefore, be required to develop their plans very cautiously for reopening of their campuses and this planning has to be done well in advance. The plan may, inter-alia include the following points:

  • Institutions should prepare details of opening the campus in a phased manner with a complete roster for all departments and batches of students in different programmes. Para 3.2 (i) & (ii) of the Guidelines may be referred.
  • The institutions must ensure appropriate sanitization and disinfection process and procedures.
  • It should be made mandatory for the Teachers, Officers, Staff and Students to wear the Id cards.
  • The faculty, student, staff should be screened regularly to protect and avoid infecting one another.
  • All preventive measures, preparedness and necessary support system to deal with the COVID -19 positive cases should be monitored and reported to local authorities on a day to day basis.
  • Teaching hours in a day may be extended, as per requirements of the institution.
  • Six-day schedule may be followed so that classes can be conducted in phases and the seating arrangement be made keeping in view the requirements of physical distancing.
  • Universities and colleges may consider reducing the class size and break them in multiple sections to maintain physical distancing during the classes.
  • Depending on the availability of space in class rooms or learning sites, up to 50% students may be allowed on a rotation basis to attend the classes.
  • Faculty should be trained for online teaching-learning practices.
  • The visitors should either not be allowed at all or their entry should be drastically restricted. The conditions of the entry for visitors should be strictly laid down and displayed on the entry point(s). Complete contact details of the visitors be maintained along with the names of persons whom he/ she meets.
  • There should be adequate isolation arrangements for those having symptoms and also for those who test positive for COVID-19 (however the two need to be kept separately), either at the level of the institution or in collaboration with the Government authorities.
  • Safety Measures at Entry/ Exit Point(s) i. Adequate arrangements of thermal scanners, sanitizers, face masks should be made available at all entry and exit points, including the reception area.
  • Crowding must be avoided at entry/ exit points. Staggered timings of entry and exit with limited strength for different programmes should be followed.
  • For ensuring queue management, inside and outside the premises, specific markings on the floor with a gap of 6 feet may be made and be adhered to.
  • In case the institution has more than one gate for entry/ exit, all the gates should be used, with adequate care, to avoid crowding.
  • Monitoring of the entry and exit of the students should be done.
  • Screening of students, faculty and staff, wearing of face covers/ mask, sanitizing of hands etc. must be ensured at all entry points.
  • Those having symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty in breathing should not be allowed to enter.

Safety Measures during Working Hours

4.2.1 Classrooms and other Learning Sites i. Proper sanitization at all learning sites should be ensured. Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, chairs, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) to be made mandatory in all class rooms, laboratories, (and also) lockers, parking areas, other common areas etc. before the beginning of classes and at the end of the day. Teaching materials, computers, laptops, printers, shall be regularly disinfected with 70% alcohol swipe.

ii. Sitting places in classes, laboratories, computer labs, libraries etc. should be clearly marked, keeping in view the norms of physical distancing. At least one seat should be left vacant between two seats.

iii. Wearing face cover/ mask is a must at all times and at all places inside the campus.

Inside the Campus

i. Cultural activities, meeting etc. may be avoided. However, such extracurricular and sports activities may be allowed where physical distancing is feasible and is in accordance with the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines, issued under Disaster Management Act, 2005 from time to time

ii. Adequate arrangements for safe drinking water should be made on the campus.

iii. Hand washing stations with facilities of liquid soap should be created so that every student can wash her/ his hands frequently.

iv. Regular and sufficient supply of face covers/ masks, heavy duty gloves, disinfecting material, sanitizer, soaps etc. to sanitation workers should be ensured.

v. Wearing of face cover/ mask by all students and staff should be ensured.

vi. Proper cleanliness should be maintained inside the entire campus.

vii. Adequate arrangements should be made for sanitizing the entire campus, including administrative and academic buildings, classrooms, laboratories, libraries, common rooms, toilets, water stations, furniture, learning material, teaching aids, sports equipment, computers etc.

viii. Physical distancing should be maintained at all places and crowding must not be allowed at any place under any circumstances.

ix. An adequate supply of water in toilets and for hand- washing should be ensured.

x. Proper sanitization of buses, other transport and official vehicles of the institution should be done.

xi. Spitting in the campus must be made a punishable offence.

xii. Dustbins must be cleaned and covered properly.

xiii. Dustbin for collection of used facemasks, personal protective equipment, hand gloves and their disposals should be ensured as per safety norms


i. Hostels may be opened only in such cases where it is necessary while strictly observing the safety and health preventive measures. However, the sharing of rooms may not be allowed in hostels. Symptomatic students should not be permitted to stay in the hostels under any circumstances.

ii. Since residential students may be coming from different locations, they shall remain in quarantine and self-monitor their health for a period of 14 days before being allowed to attend classes or as per the policy opted by the State Government for quarantine (even if they bring a negative test report or the university/college plan to test them on arrival).

iii. There should be no crowding in hostel areas where students live in close proximity and share common facilities and utilities. Hence, their numbers need to be limited appropriately to avoid crowding. Also, hostel students should be called in phases.

iv. Thermal Screening of all resident students should be ensured.

v. They will be referred to the nearest COVID treatment facility for clinical assessment and treatment.

vi. Density in dining halls, common rooms, playing areas should be limited, keeping in view the requirement of physical distancing.

vii. Hygiene conditions should be regularly monitored in kitchens, dining halls, bathrooms and toilets etc.

viii. Cleanliness is to be maintained in dining areas. Meals should be served in small batches, avoiding over-crowding. Take away options should be available for students and staff.

ix. It must be ensured that the meals are freshly cooked. A senior staff should monitor the same.

x. Utensils should be properly cleaned.

xi. Wearing of face covers/ masks and proper sanitization of hands of the staff engaged for the preparation and distribution of meals should be ensured.

xii. Resident students and staff should avoid or limit visiting the markets. As far as possible, essential items may be made available within the campus.

xiii. Hostels may define the number of students in dining halls at any point in time. Mess timings may be increased to avoid overcrowding.

(This article has been published already in LiveMint)

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