Air of festivity on campuses as students return for in-person classes after 18 months
Medical colleges in the country seemed to have come back to life as students flocked to their beloved campuses after almost a year and a half.
Classes for students of first, second and final years resumed on Monday, a day after schools and colleges reopened.
The regular classroom din was restored as students gathered together in what seemed to be a celebration.
The residential halls and campus grounds buzzed with students returning to campus and meeting friends after a long hiatus.
According to students and college authorities, health guidelines were diligently followed with everyone donning masks, regularly sanitising and students being divided into small groups for classes.
The Dhaka Medical College (DMC) welcomed a new batch of MBBS students with an orientation class on Monday.
Many students, old and new, turned up much earlier than classes were scheduled to start to take a look around the campus.
According to students, since medical studies are very practical oriented, their studies were significantly damaged by the long closure but they hoped lost time will be made up through extra classes.
DMC Principal Dr Md Tito Mia told the media that students of first and second years will attend theoretical classes online while the practical ones will be in-person for the time being.
Meanwhile, fifth year students will attend classes in shifts, he added.
He said that the DMCH has outlined a class schedule for one month according to government guidelines and it will be revised according to the observations made during this time.
“Each class has around 150-300 students. The schedule for practical classes has also been divided so that there is no gathering,” he said.
He added that measures were being taken to make-up for the damage caused by the long closure.
“We are taking double classes for the clinical classes,” he said, adding that teachers were ready to make up for lost time.
Bangladesh Medical College Principal Paritsah Kumar Ghosh said that students have been directed to follow health guidelines and the turnout on the first day was quite good.
Even though students of second year and fifth years of Comilla Medical College Hospital didn’t have classes on Monday, they had to take their exams.
“It’s nice to be able to meet my friends in person. We did virtual classes as the campus was closed, but in-person classes are a different kind of fun,” said final-year student Salma Jahan Tonni.
She said that the one-and-half-year closure has cost students an entire academic year as the final exams are not being held on time.
Another student, Mehedi Hassan, expressed his excitement at returning to campus, saying, “It’s like the college is alive again.”
According to Dr Mustafa Kamal Azad,, the principal of the college, nearly all of the students turned up on the campus on the first day.
Meanwhile, a similar scene was observed at Bogra’s Shahid Ziaur Rahman Medical College with 95% of the students in attendance.
Vice Principal Sushanta Kumar Sarker said that classes started on Sunday and health measures were taken to prevent infection among students.
“The students’ temperatures are being screened and they are having to sanitize their hands before going into classrooms,” he said, adding that students have been divided into small groups to prevent gatherings.
First-year medical students at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital started classes after an orientation at the physiology gallery.
“We hope classes will continue regularly following health guidelines,” said college principal Dr Nowshad Ali.
A group of 110 students will attend 45-minute classes at a time with a 15-minute break between each class in order to sanitise the classrooms.
“The classes mainly resumed due to the professional exams,” said Rajshahi Medical College fourth-year student Farid Khan.
Farid, who hadn’t been to campus since February last year, expressed his delight at being able to return.
Meanwhile, second-year student Arafat Zulfiqar said that the 280 students of his batch have been divided into two groups and nearly all the students have been vaccinated.
“We are giving utmost importance to health guidelines. Hence students are only being allowed inside classrooms after properly washing hands and sanitising.”
According to him, while virtual classes did continue, they faced a lot of difficulties as many practical classes are imperative to the study of medicine.
Khulna Medical College Principal Dr Mehedi Nawaz said that regular classes have resumed there as well and students were excited to be back in classrooms.
Rangpur Medical College Principal Dr Nurunnabi Laizu said that until further notice, first, second and final-year medical students will continue classes.
“Almost all 600 students turned up,” she said, adding that every preparation in line with health guidelines has been taken to welcome students back.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), there are currently 50,000 medical students in the 37 government and 71 private medical colleges of the country.