Colleges in Karnataka will resume physical classes from Tuesday, months after they were shut down to check the spread of the coronavirus among students. The state government had said degree, engineering and diploma colleges could open after Deepavali, and colleges - and students - have been getting ready.
Attending physical classes and exams, however, is still optional. The students can choose to continue with online classes. Parental consent is also necessary to attend classes. But thousands of students will be all set to get to their colleges once again.
Students from out of town have already begun settling into hostels -- which is a major cause for worry as far as Covid management is concerned.
At St Joseph's College, one of the oldest in Bengaluru, a student told NDTV, "There is a lot of anxiety, a lot of uncertainty. But I have to write my exam, that is the only reason I came. I came from Hubballi."
The Karnataka government has made COVID-19 negative certificates compulsory for students and staff.
Professor Kiran Jeevan, PRO, St Joseph's told NDTV, "It has been nine months - we haven't seen students on campus. It is so nice to see them back. We are taking all precautions to see they are safe on campus, following both the UGC and government of Karnataka SOPs. It is exciting to see them back. The government said all those returning to campus must have a Covid negative certificate. So, to make it easier for students - as we have a lot of students from outside Bangalore, the college has a camp on campus."
Among the SOPs most difficult to follow for the young people is maintaining a safe distance from classmates they haven't seen for months.
One girl student who had come for testing said, "It feels so good (to be back in college). I missed this so much."
Asked if it was difficult to maintain social distancing, her friend said, "Yes, it is. We don't get to hug!"
COVID-19 numbers in Karnataka have been falling of late - with fewer new cases reported daily and a smaller number of total active cases each day. Students and college management and staff will certainly hope that opening colleges is a wise decision and that they all stay safe and healthy.