The Higher Education Commission (HEC) gave universities the greenlight to reopen campuses so long as appropriate measures are taken to contain the transmission of the coronavirus. While this comes as a relief to students nationwide, there are still a few concerns that remain prevalent—threatening the resurgence of high levels of reported cases.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) held a meeting with Vice Chancellors (VCs) of various universities to devise strategies for reopening. Starting from hybrid learning, limiting class sizes, enforcing the use of masks, sanitisers, gloves, encouraging social distancing and maintaining a mechanism for health monitoring on campus are options that are being explored. As the government successfully contains the virus, such measures—to resume function of society and institutions—were bound to happen. The government should be issuing warnings to universities to communicate their standing, as well as the rules, clearly and unambiguously so that each stakeholder is informed.

All may seem well and good as of now but we must not forget that the world is still suffering from a pandemic. Our number of cases might be decreasing rapidly but the threat of resurgence is still present. As such, careful steps to encourage the functioning of society are needed. In universities specifically, social distancing and hygiene regulation is near impossible—owing to a student body of thousands. Mass surveillance, stringent rules and a limited option for activities also goes against the experience of going to university.

There are also certain administrations that are unwilling to become flexible. For instance, IBA has declared that their attendance policy is not subject to change, even if a student contracts the virus. Such environments can allow for the virus to make a prominent comeback that might set us back years. If the country has already suffered immense damage because of the virus, it is best if a more careful approach is taken.