The ongoing COVID 19 pandemic has made a lot of things uncertain, complex and fragile and the education sector is perhaps the sector that has had the hardest time while coming to terms with the new normal.
After months of virtual learning, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences (SMIMS) under Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) is welcoming back the medical students to its campus. Currently, 100 students are already back at their hostel accommodation from the 2019 and 2016 batches and the process of getting all the students back shall continue throughout December and January 2021.
Dean SMIMS, Dr VK Mehta and the dedicated faculty team members of SMIMS have said that a 'home away from home' is the standard set at the accommodation sites. "The top priority of SMIMS is the health and safety of our students. We are closely monitoring the health of every student in the campus and adhering to all public health regulations set by the state and the Government of India. As part of this initiative, SMIMS has recently set up NABL accredited COVID 19 antigen testing molecular labs. The newly inaugurated molecular labs at SMIMS also have the capacity to test for HIV virus and other such grave illness," the dean informed.
SMIMS has recently set up NABL accredited COVID 19 antigen testing molecular labsApart from the molecular testing labs, different signage boards are posted at the entrance of all common rooms, student spaces and elevators to ensure safe social distancing. Students are also requested to screen with RT-PCR test 72 hours prior to their arrival in Sikkim. Further, the students are also required to compulsorily stay in their rooms for 14 days after they reach the campus and all students are being monitored daily by designated faculty members.
If any student experiences any symptoms during the 14 days of the quarantine period, then his/her samples are sent for RT-PCR test at the new molecular labs. If the test is positive the patient shall undergo treatment that shall be administered with utmost dedication, according to the authorities. Healthy food is also being served to the rooms of the individual students and clean linen sheets are being supplied along with regular cleaning of rooms and garbage disposal facilities, the dean informed.
The preclinical "in-person" classes are set to commence from the 24th of December and to ensure optimal social distancing; the students shall be grouped in three batches. The routine classes will be held from 9 am in the morning till 7 pm in the evening. "This entire process of bringing back our students to the campus and at the same time ensuring that all COVID 19 safety protocols are followed could not have been possible without the never-ending support from the clinical staff of SMIMS and our teaching hospital, Central Referral Hospital (CRH)," the Dean added.