Senior staff members of Tiruvalluvar University stayed away from work on Friday as the University’s assistant registrar Pradeep Raj was down with COVID-19 infection and was admitted to the Vellore CMC hospital on Thursday.
UGC secretary Rajnish Jain in a letter to all universities dated July 1, 2020, asked them to follow the advice and guidelines of the higher education department attached to the MHRD. MHRD secretary Amit Khare in a letter to the UGC, AICTE, NTA and related educational bodies dated June 30, 2020, had ordered that all educational institutions be closed and that staff be ordered to work from home.
Where necessary, only online classes should be conducted and staff were asked to attend office only in emergencies and that too with all proper precautions as advised in MHRD’s earlier missives, the letter added. All staff were also asked to submit their mobile phone numbers to their institution heads for emergency use, it said.
Despite such directives, the staff of Tiruvalluvar University were miffed as being ordered by the VC to report for work. “We reported for work on July 1 and after receipt of the above mentioned letters we requested the VC and also handed over a petition signed by 22 staff that we be allowed to work from home. The request was rejected,” said a senior administrative official seeking anonymity.
“As the assistant registrar was affected by COVID-19, nearly 20 of us have informed the University and are staying at home,” he added.