DU Students’ Vaccination: 43pc jabbed as DU prepares to reopen
Around forty-three percent of Dhaka University students got Covid shots until yesterday and the university authorities are thinking about reopening dormitories in the first week of next month.
Sources at the university's ICT cell say about 20,000 of the 47,000 DU students have so far got their jabs. Another 6,000 completed their online registration for the vaccination and were awaiting confirmation text messages.
It could not be known how many of them got both the shots.
A meeting of the DU Provost Standing Committee on Wednesday evening recommended reopening the dormitories on October 5 as the nationwide Covid infection rate had been declining.
Students, who will be able to provide their Covid-19 vaccine certificates or have received at least the first dose, will be allowed to enter residential halls, the meeting decided.
The DU authorities are now preparing to open vaccination booths at the medical centre on campus. The university plans to resume in-person classes when all students get the shots, said committee sources.
The government had closed educational institutions across the country in March last year to curb the spread of novel coronavirus. The university was closed on March 18 that year.
Schools and colleges resumed in-person classes on Sunday after a closure of around 18 months.
A high-level government meeting recently decided that any university could reopen if all its students completed their vaccination registration by September 27.
Around 1.5 lakh students of medical and dental colleges as well as other health institutions returned to the classroom recently after taking both doses of Covid vaccine.
The DU authorities said they were taking preparations keeping in mind that the dorms would reopen soon.
Recently, this reporter visited nine dormitories where he saw workers washing and cleaning floors. Some were repainting walls. The authorities also set up hand-washing facilities for students.
Thirty-nine isolation seats have already been readied at the university's medical centre for Covid patients. Besides, enough preparations have been taken to open vaccination booths at the centre, said Sarwar Jahan, chief medical officer at the centre.
At least 13 beds have been prepared for dengue patients, he said.
Meanwhile, Abu Hussain Md Moinul Ahsan, Dhaka district civil surgeon, visited the centre yesterday to see for himself the preparations.
"We are ready to inoculate students against Covid-19. We will give top priority on the vaccination as the university is likely to open its residential halls soon. We will coordinate with the university authorities accordingly," Moinul told reporters after the visit.
COVID BUDGET INSUFFICIENT
Fearing that the Covid situation might worsen after reopening of the university, the DU authorities had sought extra money from the University Grants Commission (UGC) to handle the situation.
Failing to get the additional fund, the authorities now plan to make a deficit budget of around Tk 9 crore, said DU sources.
The money would be cut from budget allocations for different sectors, they said.
The university treasurer's office has reduced the budget for buying medicines and reagents to 6 lakh from Tk 26 lakh. The Tk 20 lakh would go to the Covid fund, said the sources.
Asked, Sarwar said, "This is true. But when our university will reopen, we will need to buy a huge quantity of medicines for our students. We will face many other problems in future."
Urging the government to grant the fund, DU Treasurer Prof Mamtaz Uddin Ahmed said, "If the government does not help us, we won't be able to meet the deficit budget. The Tk 9 crore isn't enough considering the huge number of our students."
Meanwhile, a possibility has arisen that the Covid-19 testing lab on campus might be shut due to fund crisis, said sources.
The university authorities had set up the lab at the Centre for Advanced Research in the social science faculty building a year ago following instructions of the health ministry.
Wishing anonymity, a teacher said, "From the inception of the lab, we spent Tk 66 lakh for testing. We got no help from the health ministry. If the situation does not improve, we might have to close it down."
DU VC Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman said, "We need to collect money on time to tackle any situation which might arise after the university's reopening."
Asked, UGC member Dil Afroza Begum said, "We gave Tk 6 crore to the DU authorities for the cleaning and sanitation. They have used it for reconstructing their dormitories."
But the DU authorities denied the allegation and said that they have Tk 6.30 crores for reconstructing their dormitories. This fund isn't related to the Covid fund.