19 September 2020
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Two days after educational institutions across the country reopened, the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi closed down its campuses after at least two students contracted the novel coronavirus, according to students and sources within the university’s management.

“Due to COVID-19 related concerns, the
management has decided to suspend classes for two days starting September 17,”
the varsity’s head of communications, Haris Tohid said. No student or faculty
member will be allowed to enter any of the campuses during this time. However,
staff members will continue to work from office.

IBA has two campuses in Karachi. One is at the
University of Karachi and the other is in Garden.

Tohid said that during this time, the varsity’s
management will be increasing the COVID-19 testing of the IBA community and
enhance and/or strengthen its SOPs to ensure the well-being and safety of their
community.

The campuses and hotels will also be
disinfected.

He told SAMAA Digital that ever since
educational institutions first reopened on September 15, “hundreds of students
and teachers at the university have been tested free of cost”. Tohid, however,
refused to share the number of students who tested positive.

According to a student at the varsity who didn’t
want their identity revealed, at least two people have tested positive for the
virus. The first student had joined from Islamabad and had been attending
classes regularly. “His parents had the virus and he received his test results
after he joined classes,” the student said, adding that he was apparently
asymptomatic.

Other sources revealed that the second student
who got the virus was a member at AISEC (a student-run organisation for
leadership development, cross-cultural internships and global volunteer
exchange experiences) and had recently attended an event with numerous other
students.

According to an internal email shared with SAMAA
Digital by a student, the varsity will be conducting tests at both its
girls’ and boys’ hotels and the campuses today [Thursday]. “Examinees will get
their results via SMS within 24 hours of the tests. It will, however, take IBA
48 hours to 72 hours to know the results of all the students that were tested,”
the email read.

Another student living at university campus said
that the management is no longer letting anyone enter the hostel premises.

Tohid said that those who test positive will be
isolated in special isolation rooms at the hostels and campuses.

Students raise concerns over SOP implementation

A number of students at the varsity have
complained that precautionary coronavirus SOPs are not being followed during
classes, or in the cafeteria.

They said students are not being stopped or
fined for not wearing masks and even teachers and senior management were seen
without masks. “Guards are stopping students at the varsity gates for not
wearing masks but once you enter, nothing is being done,” a student said.

Another student complained that before physical
classes commenced, the management had informed students that the class size
will be reduced to 30 students to ensure social distancing.

However, when classes resumed, the same 40 to 45
students were accommodated in a class. “There’s no concept of social distancing
followed at all.”

Abdul Gh Lone

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