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Published: Monday, March 22, 2021, 21:47 [IST]

Chennai, Mar 22: Close on the heels of closure of schools in the backdrop of surging COVID-19 cases, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday asked higher education institutions to switch to online teaching and said semester exams will also be conducted on the virtual mode.

A Government Order to this effect was issued after Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan held discussions with Vice Chancellors, all of whom “opined that the classes can be conducted online.”

The heads also said 70-80 per cent syllabus has been covered, the GO said, adding that practical classes and examination for science students were going on. “The Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has also opined that there are reports emerging of clusters from colleges/hostels and considering trends in many states, these clusters have the potential to spread disease in their place of residence and surrounding community,” the GO said.

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The government subsequently directed institutions under the control of Higher Education Department and deemed universities “to conduct classes online from March 23 onwards with six days working.”

All practical classes shall be completed before March 31 and the “semester examination will be (held) online,” it added. The government had in December 2020 allowed functioning of final year classes and for all others since February this year.

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With Tamil Nadu witnessing a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases over the last few days, the government had on Saturday ordered closure of schools for classes 9, 10 and 11 from Monday until further orders.

After witnessing a declining trend throughout February, COVID-19 infections in the state have been on the rise steadily, with the state adding 1,385 fresh infections on Monday, pushing the active cases to 8,619.

Story first published: Monday, March 22, 2021, 21:47 [IST]