Higher Education Commission (HEC) Islamabad has announced the guidelines and timelines for the reopening of universities and calling staff members and students to campuses. Although July 15 is set as the date of reopening of universities, but not all students will be called to attend on-campus classes.
HEC has announced to reopen universities in multiple phases. In the first phase, only faculty members and students who are facing connectivity issues will be called on campus. In the second phase, Final Year students and graduate students and students with house jobs or other practical requirements will be called. In the last phase, all students will be allowed on campus.
In a document, it is mentioned that HEC has surveyed the actions taken by universities in advanced countries. In all cases, the decision has been taken by each university separately, based on its conditions. Ideally, we would like a similar pattern in Pakistan. HEC will provide overall guidance, based on international best practices, and Pakistan’s particular conditions, including the governmental directives.
HEC schedule and timeline for Faculty and Students to be called on campus
- 15 July 2020: University faculty, essential staff and Students with Connectivity issues settle in on campus
- 3 August 2020: Final Year students, graduate students and Students with house jobs or other practical requirements arrive back on campus
- 17 August 2020: Students with lab requirements (e.g., science, medicine, engineering) All other students may be allowed on campus
- 14 September 2020: Orientation session for new students
- 15 September 2020: All new and old students allowed back on campus
Should All Universities Reopen Together?
- The VC and the Syndicate should make their own decisions. The following factors are relevant to this decision.
- Epidemic behavior: the university cannot quarantine itself completely. A flare-up in the surrounding area may spread to the university community through vendors, transport systems, local staff, and normal interactions.
- Space constraints: how many students can be accommodated
- Availability of required medical services, both on and off-campus
- Availability of essential supplies, including testing kits, PPEs, sanitization systems, thermal surveillance cameras
- Clear policy and assignment of responsibility
Checklist of Safety SOPs
- Wear a mask in public places, maintain good hygiene practices Observe social distancing and prescribed protocols for public places
- Regularly review updates on virus and safety policies Use biometric identifiers or swipe cards when required
- Maintain a daily contact diary. In case of symptoms, follow prescribed procedures