After nearly 18 months of Covid-forced closure, Dhaka University on Tuesday morning welcomed back its residential students to the dormitories with flowers and banners.
Only vaccinated final-year honours and master’s students were allowed to check in, after production of valid documents and proof of at least a dose of a Covid vaccine.
Inside halls, provosts were seen asking them to refrain from hanging out in groups or crowding a particular place.
The DU syndicate, the highest policy-making body, on September 18, decided to reopen the residential halls for examinees. The university has not yet taken a call on the resumption of physical classes.
After visiting Bijay Ekattor Hall, DU Vice Chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman told UNB, "Today is a day of happiness. The university is the campus of students. It has again come back to life."
"The decision of allowing the first, second and third-year students to the residential halls will be taken soon. The Covid infection rate is decreasing and students are taking vaccine shots," he added.
Several residential halls like Fazlul Huq Muslim Hall, Jagannath Hall, Salimullah Muslim Hall and Bijoy Ekattor Hall have set up handwashing basins at entrances only. Dining rooms, canteens, cafeterias, reading rooms, toilets and bathrooms have all been kept sparkling clean.
Dhaka University Proctor Prof AKM Golam Rabbani said, "No students will be allowed to stay on after completion of their studies. We want cooperation from student leaders in enforcing health protocols."
Dhaka University has been shut since March 2020 after the country detected the first Covid-19 patient.
SOPs for dorms
The university authorities have decided to impose a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on students after the reopening of the residential halls.
The SOP includes abiding by all health guidelines, wearing masks, and maintaining social distancing.
“The SOP is divided into three parts -- housing, hygiene and medical care. No residential students can set up a floor bed under any circumstances. The surroundings of the room should be kept clean and tidy. A large room can accommodate a maximum of four students,” said Prof Abdul Bashir, the chairman of the university provost standing committee.
Banners and festoons are visible in the residential halls and academic buildings to raise awareness.
A student must put on a mask while leaving the room, Bashir said. They must wash their hands before entering their halls. Students must avoid spitting in random places and avoid crowding in mosques and canteens.
“We cannot think that the pandemic has passed. We must take precautions to continue our lives amid this situation. We will have to follow various restrictions.
"If a student has any chronic illness, he should inform the hall administration. A student will be placed in quarantine at the medical Centre if he tests Covid positive. We will not allow ‘gono rooms’ anymore," Bashir added.