IIT Madras shuts down all depts as more than 100 test Covid-19 positive.

Over 100 people at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) have tested Covid positive. The numbers are expected to increase further. Meanwhile, IIT-M has decided to shutdown all the Departments.

Those who have tested positive include research scholars, staff, students are admitted to the Kings Institute. Sources at IIT-M say the main reason is management’s decision to run only one mess could be the reason.

There are 774 students in the campus and most of those infected were residents of two hostels — Krishna and Jamuna.

Five tested positive On December 6, and another on December 7 and 8 at Krishna Hostel. After that inmates of Krishna Hostel were asked to go into quarantine and everybody was asked to undergo a test, a scholar said.

Meanwhile, IIT-M has decided to shut down all its departments and centres and has asked its staff to work from home. Anyone with the symptoms like fever, dry cough, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste/smell, or any other sign has been requested to get in touch with the hospital officials.

Post graduate students, research scholars and others have been asked to be confined to their rooms with arrangements made to deliver packed food at the hostel itself.

IIT said in a statement that the Institute has been functioning with limited capacity and has only 10 per cent of its students in the hostels. As soon as a spurt in symptomatic cases was reported by some students from the hostels, the Institute consulted the civic authorities and arranged for all students to be tested for Covid.

IIT Madras has been permitting research scholars who need to do experimental work to return to campus provided they undergo a 14-day quarantine and are tested as well. Capacity to quarantine (with room service) is limited, and this limits the rate at which the institute can bring back scholars to the hostels.

Some project Staff working on research projects and staying in the city have been coming to work in the labs, after this was permitted by the government. An SoP is in place to determine how many scholars and project staff can work safely in each lab based on its size, ventilation etc. Research scholars who wished to return earlier (out of turn with respect to the SoP involving quarantine before release into the hostels) were permitted to do so if they were willing to stay off campus, till their turn came to be accepted in hostels, and provided their lab could accommodate them.

“We will attempt to raise our capacity to quarantine returning students since the government is releasing the hostels they took custody of to quarantine Covid patients during the last seven months,” IIT Madras said in the statement.

IIT Madras has been constantly in touch with civic authorities and has been following all protocols and safety measures.

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