Teaching & Studying ‘A New Normal’ During Covid-19
| Brig. (Dr) Sunil Kumar Moudgil (Retd) - 01 May 2020

Covid-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘Co’ stands for corona, ‘vi’ for virus, and ‘d’ for disease. During Covid-19, a ‘new normal’ is being experienced by one & all and many preventive actions are being advised by Govt. for the wellbeing of people. The educational institutes are also taking a variety of actions in order to secure the well-being of their students, staff and members of their communities. Though, the reality of each institute may be unique, but the following actions can deliver an insight through these times, whilst the Covid-19 situation is still unfolding. The points as brought out below are just a reference and be applied in accordance with the legal framework/compliance. The information shared is only with a viewpoint to utilize the present time more effectively. 
What is in it for the Institutes?
(a) Priority to keep students safe and motivated. Educational Institutes should put student’s wellbeing, happiness, safety and health above all other concerns. The first thing they should do is to maintain regular contact with its students those are back home - especially those students who are in the most affected areas by the virus. By being compassionate and caring, they should ask how they and their families/parents/friends etc. are doing. If need be, direct them to the appropriate support services that are available to them depending on their specific needs. For example, some students may not have access to funds due to the virus and may require financial assistance; others may be feeling distressed, unhappy and worried about their future. Institutes can also set up mental health helplines to address psychosocial concerns of students. 
(b) Maintain Communication. Though students will have access to all the medias and latest news about how the covid-19 crisis is unfolding but giving then daily updates specific to their areas of concern will give them confidence and uplift their morale. 
(c) Gratitude and Appreciation. It is said that the biggest emotional need of a human being is to get appreciated. While speaking to the students, show appreciation & gratitude, the way they are handling this uncertain time and keeping up the positive attitude. 
(d) Extension of date for clearance of financial dues. Deadlines for paying tuition fees, hostel charges or any other financial obligations must be extended for at least 3 months. Further if there is a need for extension, it must be extended suitably.  
(e) Sharing learning resource. Due to suspended face-to-face teaching, all academic resources (including Library) for both teaching and learning, while studying from home or remotely, must be made available. Appropriate online platform for teachers and students be introduced to facilitate continuous learning. All programs must be delivered digitally. All teaching and assessment be conducted online including submission of assignments to avoid any academic loss during the present crisis. Educational institutions to fully utilize the power of technology to ensure continuity of academic calendar during this time. Extracurricular activities and sports competitions can also be rescheduled and regularly reviewed. All study related trips and educational visits to industry can be conducted virtually/online.  
(f) New admissions. Due to social distancing rules and non-availability of travel, all admissions to the next academic year must be done online. In-person interviews may be replaced with virtual team-based discussions and interviews. There should be an extended deadline to apply for courses. 
(g) Placements. Recruitment drive be held online. Institute website be suitably upgraded to visit the campus virtually, in order to give a feel of academic and extracurricular activities.  
(h) Educational events. All on-campus events like educational talks by industry experts, seminars and conferences be moved to webinars. To encourage participation, students be awarded digital certificates of participation/completion. 
 What is in it for the Students?
Public health measures as advised by the Centre Govt./Health Ministry/State Govt./Local bodies, from time to time, be followed in letter and spirit to defeat Covid-19. Apart from following medical advice, here are a few ideas to help students create a daily schedule/ritual and utilize their time at home more fruitfully.
• Daily rituals are healthy and motivating.
• Wake up, do physical & mental exercising for 20 to 30 minutes every day
• Get shower, dress up as per educational institute dress code
• Have breakfast at the normal time
• Earmark a dedicated place to study and have no distractions
• Schedule time for nutritious lunch and snacks
• Have 2 to 3 breaks during the day to destress, by listening to soft music or watching news for couple of minutes to stay updated 
• In the evening change into casuals to feel relaxed
• If the day goes well as planned, then give yourself a reward for the time nicely spent
• Enjoy family time in the evenings, playing, reading, watching a movie or exercising together, etc.
• Have dinner together as a family and discuss the day
• Stick with normal bedtime routine as much as possible during the week to make sure to get enough sleep
• Getting good night sleep make you feel good and fresh for the next day to concentrate on your work
• During the weekends, pursue hobbies or creating new hobbies. The time should also be utilized to upskill by adding value to academic/professional qualifications through online programs 
• Lockdown period and social distancing norms etc. can be challenging. Use social media to stay connected with friends and community for de-stressing 
Stay Home, Stay Safe!
 



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