As many of you will remember, I had written to you last year in the beginning phases of the COVID-19 pandemic when it had started to shake humanity to the core with its virulence. We have lived for more than a year under the dark clouds of SARS-CoV-2 virus and efforts to contain the disease are on in almost all parts of the globe. I shall not be elaborating on the measures being taken by our nation and our state in this direction, but shall simply say that one can remain free from the disease (i) by staying physically distant from others, (ii) by invariably wearing a good facemask correctly in public spaces, and (iii) by intelligently following the widely publicized COVID-appropriate behavior including the maintenance of healthy hand hygiene. I fondly hope that you all are following the above good practices to defeat the disease collectively.
Young people like you find it hard to spend time indoors and it is also difficult to learn all your lessons effectively by attending online classes being taken by your teachers. Since online (or virtual) learning is the best possible option available under the present circumstances, try your best to acquire as much knowledge as possible not only by listening to what your teachers convey but also via dedicated self-study. The university will always work for your advantage, you may rest assured. Since it is hard to tell whether there can be offline (face-to-face) teaching for the current second and fourth semester UG classes, students of these two semesters will do well to take online learning (and also self-learning) seriously even during the period of summer vacation which has been scheduled early to spare the month of July for your on-campus learning, if possible. We are also trying to think about holding your semester-end examinations in the month of August, if feasible. Moreover, it is being hoped that we shall also be able to start virtual teaching for the UG sixth semester students immediately after they complete their fifth semester examination under GU.
We are making efforts to hold the semester-end examinations of the first and third semester PG students in the second half of June positively and in all likelihood these examinations will be held in the online mode. We shall make the details known to you by May 31st. So, prepare well for the examinations by giving greater importance to studying directly from text and reference books suggested by your teachers.
Furthermore, now that the students of 1st Year HS classes have been promoted to the 2nd Year, we shall undertake efforts to start online classes of the 2nd Year HS students as well. Keep visiting our website regularly for updates and prepare your mind for attending classes even if they are started during the summer vacation.
Your concerns, queries and specific feedback regarding the online learning experience may be communicated to email@example.com so that it becomes possible for us to address your needs effectively.
Now that vaccines against COVID-19 are available, we may be able to see an end to our miseries in about a year from now. Till then, continue behaving intelligently and responsibly, live healthily and hope for a bright future; Mother Nature will prepare you to cope successfully with this and all other trying situations.
Professor Birinchi Kumar Das
Following the declaration of COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease of 2019) as a pandemic by World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11 March 2020, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared the first lockdown of the country on 25 March and we entered a never-experienced phase of life. Since the disease itself is caused by infection due to novel coronavirus, scientifically christened SARS-CoV-2 by WHO, the human body is finding it very hard to fight against this unprecedented disease. The disease itself is considered to be zoonotic - possibly originating in bats or pangolins and then transferred to human beings; but there is also a school of thought suggesting that the virus causing the disease may be man-made, engineered deliberately and released unintentionally or even according to a plan, in Wuhan city of China. This is why the novel coronavirus is sometimes referred to as the Wuhan virus or simply as the Chinese virus. Whatever may be the name or origin of the virus, there is no vaccine to prevent attacks by the virus nor there are definite known cures for the disease. This has caused panic in the minds of people from all over the world and it has led to the death of a large number of people and while doing so this disease has devastated economies of both rich and poor countries.
The above being the current COVID-19 scenario that is predicted to turn even worse in the near future, and with no vaccines or cure within easy reach, humanity is going through immense physical, mental and economic hardships. The student community constitutes one of the worst affected groups. Children and young adults studying in primary schools to universities are unable to attend classes since mid-March and they are mostly confined to their homes while attending intermittently to ‘online classes’ and sometimes to online assessments or examinations. It goes without saying that learning doesn’t constitute just reading from the pages of books or the screens of smartphones and computers. There are just so many other ways of getting acquainted with people, places and situations and to learn new things from such acquaintances! I empathise with you dear students in your times of distress and uncertainty.
There have been an umpteen number of orders, advisories and guidelines from Government agencies and WHO, formulated mostly by experienced and expert people and aimed at either preventing the occurrence and spread of the disease and sometimes with a view to addressing the mental issues faced by people of all categories. Some such information including a collection of articles published by The Hindu Group are also available in our website. While it is appropriate to acquire some knowledge about the disease and also about how it is being managed in our country, it is very important that all students spend their time as fruitfully as possible. One of the best ways to spend time will be to help parents in the great variety of household works required to run a family and also to some extent to engage in some productive works including farming. Work experience enriches life. At the same time, it will be useful for life to acquire healthy habits and lifeskills that will enable you to live life successfully and comfortably in future. These practices will of course include matters of study, including digital learning.
Our university has created a few COVID-19 special webpages to provide information to you regarding the ongoing health crisis and a Grievance Redressal Cell is already in place. In case you have any issues or problems caused by the pandemic, please feel free to communicate with the Cell over phone or through email. We shall try to address your needs in the best possible manner
Further, specific queries, concerns and comments regarding the effectiveness of online teaching that we are undertaking may be submitted to us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we have a direct way of learning from you about what is going on.
With resolute human efforts to develop vaccines to thwart the virus and also to discover curative medicines to fight the disease, humanity will surely be able to defeat the virus and also the disease that it causes. Behave intelligently, live healthily and hope for a bright future - Mother Nature will energise you to cope successfully with this and any other trying situation.
Professor Birinchi Kumar Das
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