Director's message to Senate IIT Patna in the context on COVID-19

Dear Senators of IIT Patna,

   We are into the 8th day of the lock-down period. As Director, I would like to apprise you of situation in IIT Patna, especially wrt academics. Our customary midsem break was to end on 15th March which we extended to 31st March in the face of countrywide corona outbreak. ON 24th March the lock-down of the country was announced by the Hon'ble PM. Various measures have been undertaken in this context as enumerated below, starting with a high power meeting with Hon'ble HRM:

1. Today on 1st April 2020, our Hon'ble HRM Shri Ramesh Pokhriyalji had a VC with all IIT Directors to take stock of the COVID-19 situations. The meeting went on from 11 AM to 2.30 PM. We had to report on:
a. Campus safety b. Students staying back and their care c. Teaching arrangements d. Research especially wrt COVID-19 e. Essential services f. Any other matter and suggestions

My point-wise inputs were:
   * a.* Campus is safe; the campus is sealed but for essential supplies; IR camera and sanitizer arranged at both gates and all offices.

   * b.* About 70 PhD students are staying on campus, out of whom 19 are girls; 30 married scholars are staying off campus with full security and other logistics. Hostel mess is running for the students; about 1700 students are now in their respective homes.

   *c.* From 3rd April online teaching on webex platform will start; trial run on 2nd April; Director presided over a tutorial session arranged on 30th March by CC Head and delivered by CISCO on webex based online teaching which was attended by 100+ faculty members; yesterday 31st Director conducted a followup meeting with Academic Heads to discuss first few steps.

*There are students in places of India with inadequate internet facility; we will keep plans A,B,C for online teaching, keeping such students in mind.*

   *d.* IIT Patna is contributing and will continue to contribute to COVID-19 related research; there is long standing work in the institute on disaster information system under IMPRINT which will be extended to COVID-19; IMPRINT project had brought us in discussion with NDRF at Bihta (National Disaster Response Force); we will continue interacting with them; the standing MoU between IITP and AIIMS Bihar will include now COVID-19; names of faculty interested in epidemic modeling have been sent to Dr. Rakesh Sarwal; AS MHRD who in turn connected us with IIT Bombay on this matter.

   *e.* Essential services are continuing on campus with utmost care for safety through social distancing, sanitization and complete attention to basic hygiene. Cleaning is meticulous and regular; a subset of security guards and outsourced manpower are staying on campus with food, shelter and other amenities provided by institute.

    *f.* IIT Patna will contribute to PM Care funds; we will know the exact amount in a week; notice for willingness to contribute was circulated by Registrar on 29th March, and everybody has pitched in.

2. Hon'ble HRM at the start mentioned the critical times we are passing through and the need for maintaining are morale high. I mentioned in this context the mail I sent on 23rd March to our student, faculty and staff on the subject of performing our basic duties in the face of the COVID-19 situation. This- I mentioned- was followed the next day by a recorded byte to keep our morale high and fight Corona, Both these are on our home page and FB. Pl take a look at:

The above are in line with- if not more than- what other IITs also are doing. *Hon'ble minister particularly would like to know how many students are getting benefited by online mode of teaching. We should have the stats and feedback ready.*

I will keep you informed.

Do stay safe, stay healthy,