Eleven months after the pandemic induced lockdown had forced all educational institutions across the country to shut down their campuses and the education system shifting to a completely digital platform, institutes have slowly started to reopen their campuses. One of the most promising and dynamic management institutios among the new generation IIMs of the country, IIM Sambalpur, the handcrafted IIM, has also reopened its campus for students, adhering to directions of the Central Government, State Government, District Authorities, and statutory health regulatory bodies. The Institute is also adopting a set of safety and hygiene guidelines which will be updated from time to time as issued by the Government authorities. Being a first-mover among IIMs, to conceive the concept of flipped classroom mode of learning, which enabled a smooth transition from offline to online classes including examinations and admission processes, IIM Sambalpur truly stands for holistic pedagogy. The first year and second year students of MBA have started arriving at the campus in batches. Students who are facing internet and infrastructure issues at home are given priority to come to the campus. The classes will, however, be held in online mode for the time being.
Speaking on reopening the campus, Prof Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur, said, “We will be rebooting the campus in stages and students will be returning in a phased manner. A strict set of mandatory guidelines, as set by Government authorities has been issued to all students, faculty and staff. We will also be collecting the students’ travel/location details for 14 days before entering the campus. Students must produce a COVID 19 Negative Certificate which is not older than 3 days as on their date of arrival. They will also have to undergo tests at the end of their quarantine period which the Institute will arrange with the help of the District Administration. As numbers around the country are going down and the vaccination drive starting, it is essential for life to continue in the new normal. While physical distancing and remote learning were a necessity, students did feel a sense of isolation. Coming back to campus and meeting their friends and teachers, will create a positive impact on their mental health as well. Our students also realize the need to normalize the situation and are enthusiastic about their arrival to campus, some of them for the first time. However, the pandemic is far from over and hence stringent SOP must be followed to resume near-normal activities. Self-discipline is the key to responsible COVID 19 behaviour.”
Each student will have to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days from the date of arrival at the campus in separate rooms. Each student must have the Aarogya Setu app active on their smartphones. Wearing masks outside their hostel rooms, thermal scanning of body temperature upon entering the campus, maintaining social distancing in common spaces, sanitizing hands, and following all other basic norms is mandatory. Students are not allowed to leave the hostel premises other than medical emergencies. Students who must leave campus will have to quarantine themselves again. The dining hall will also have meal timings for students and staff in batches. Thorough disinfection and cleaning of all surfaces will be maintained by the institute. Medical assistance like routine health check-ups, monitoring of students, dealing with emergencies will be provided during the quarantine. Two fully ready rooms with beds, oxygen cylinders, and other essential facilities for combating COVID 19 mild to moderate symptoms will be available in a separate building on the campus. A Medical officer/Doctor will also visit the hostel regularly.
Although physically present at the campus, students will continue to attend classes in the online mode. The Institute will take the decision of resuming physical classes depending on the circumstances and government guidelines. IIM Sambalpur has been conducting online classes with the help of several digital tools and processes to facilitate effective learning for its students. Taking forth the concept of Flipped classrooms, Learning Management Software like Moodle is being utilized, where students and faculty members interact regularly through Video Conferencing. Furthermore, the institute has smart classrooms equipped with SMART Boards, where students can log-in and access notes, presentations, and curriculum schedules. All examinations of IIM Sambalpur are conducted using online proctoring systems for descriptive exams or using LMS for the quiz and multiple-choice exams.