Students are back on Karnataka campuses - but so is COVID 19 - with clusters reported from many educational institutions around the state on an almost daily basis. For now, though, authorities say the situation does not require a complete return to online learning, despite the clusters and the arrival of the Omicron variant.
Dr Ashwath Narayan, the state's Higher Education Minister, told NDTV, "Nothing like that (returning to online). If any cases are reported, all measures will be taken to contain and effectively tackle the situation. The regular classes will go on. Now is not the time to look back. We will see in the future, depending on the situation."
There have been many concerns expressed on social media by students who are required to appear for offline exams despite taking online classes for months, particularly from those who have to travel for these exams.
Many students taking offline classes on campus, however, say the advantages of offline classes outweigh the current risks. This is despite the rise in Covid cases numbers and the detection of the Omicron variant in Karnataka.
One undergraduate student told NDTV, "Cases are rising and there is concern from our families as well. We want to be safe. But at the same time, we want to be in the college physically. A hybrid mode would be better for now."
Another student said, "Many of us are scared. Parents do not feel it's safe but most students don't prefer online classes, it's really tough."
"Even if we attend online classes, we have to take exams offline. We find it difficult to study online but then take offline exams," Another student said. "According to me, offline is better if we take all precautions," she added.
Despite the challenges involved in maintaining Covid protocol, faculty members seem to hope that offline classes can go on.
Dr Veena KN, Principal, Dayananda Sagar Business Academy, told NDTV, "I find it is convenient and more effective to have offline classes. But looking at the variants we are seeing in the Covid virus, it could be of concern. We are hopeful that this time people are more cautious and that students are going to be more careful."
So far, the hope is that campuses will continue to have the presence of students. But with COVID 19, there are never any guarantees.