Single room accommodations help Kota coaching students combat spread of COVID-19

Kota (Rajasthan), Apr 4 () A long-standing practice of students staying in single rooms across hostels and paying guest (PG) accommodations in the coaching hub of Kota has largely helped them tackle the spread of COVID-19.

Around 35,000 to 40,000 students from across the country are currently living in the town amid the nationwide lockdown, according to the district administration.

Most of the students live in hostels and PG rooms and do not find it unusual as the single rooms help them live in isolation and also helps in social distancing.

Notably, no positive case of coronavirus has been detected so far in Kota.Advertisement

The National Testing Agency had last month postponed the NEET (UG) and IIT-JEE (Mains) examinations to the end of May as a measure to avoid inconvenience to students and parents amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The students living here are using the time productively to prepare for the entrance exams with more time on their hands.

More than 1.75 lakh students come to Kota every year to prepare for engineering and medical entrance examinations.

As per rough estimates given by several coaching institutes in Kota, around 80 per cent of the students live in single rooms while the remaining 20 per cent are lodged in double rooms.

Since the coaching institutes had completed the courses in December last year, most of the students headed back to their home towns. Yet, a sizable number of students who have chosen their exam centres in Kota or those willing to continue their studies for the next academic session are currently staying in the city.Advertisement

The students are able follow home isolation guidelines as they live in hostel rooms where disturbance from outsiders is minimal.

"Living in isolation during the lockdown has not made any significant difference as I have got accustomed to living in isolation in separate rooms since the day I reached Kota in June last year," said NEET aspirant Akhilesh Kumar, a native of Nawada district in Bihar. He is currently living in a PG room in Kota.

"We are not faced with any difficulty here during the lockdown as the food is available on time. The mess was closed for two days and food packets were supplied to us by the institute," he said.Advertisement

But, the mess has again started today, he said adding that he is using the time during the lockdown to prepare for the exam, though it has been postponed. There are 5-7 other students in his PG and all of them are living in separate rooms, Kumar added.

Another NEET aspirant from Katihar district in Bihar, Mohammad Shahbaz Hussain said he is more focussed on utilising the current time to prepare for the exam as it has been deferred and the lockdown period in the isolation of the hostel room provides them a golden opportunity.

"The only difference is that we can't go to the institute for clarification on doubts but we do it over the phone. Also, the students in hostel and PG rooms are not facing any problem with food even after the messes were closed," he said.Advertisement

Volunteers of students welfare society of the institute and district administration supply the food packets and other required items, Hussain added.

"Living in hostel rooms for most of the time during the day is in itself an isolation and I believe I have got a good opportunity to concentrate on studies during the lockdown," said Arya Marda, an IIT-JEE aspirant.

The single room culture of Kota is setting an example for home isolation as a room attached with washroom is ideal for social distancing, which is advocated as a means to protect oneself from COVID-19 infection, Dr Vijay Sardana, Principal of Kota Medical College said. She appealed to the students not to go anywhere and remain wherever they are.Advertisement

Kota has got good isolation conditions in hostels and PG rooms as students do not come in contact with many people, psychiatrist Dr Virendra Mewara said. He recommended students to talk to their family and friends daily through phone or video chat and to engage in creative activity for recreation.

They should also do yoga or take up exercise daily as it will help them stay healthy, he added. Meanwhile, the district administration has issued eight helpline numbers for the coaching students in the city to call them at any time hour of need.Advertisement

In a video message to students and their parents, Kota District Collector Om Kasera appreciated the disciplined routine of coaching students in hostel and PG rooms and assured them complete safety in Kota.

Appealing to the students and their parents not to get worried about anything, Naveen Maheshwari, director of Allen Career Institute, said all measures are in place to ensure the safety of the students in Kota as round-the-clock support and basic supplies to students are being provided.

Helpline numbers have been issued by their institute's student welfare society for any emergency situation, he added. CORR HDA