Tuesday morning marked the beginning of a new chapter for many students who had endured a bitter experience in the past one-and-a-half years.
They were welcomed back with flowers and chocolates by hall presidents and the atmosphere on campus was festive.
But signs of the pandemic still lingered - students were only allowed in after they washed their hands at the entrance, checked their body temperatures and presented their identity and vaccination cards.
In the first phase of reopening, honours fourth year and master’s students were welcomed into the halls on a priority basis. Following the completion of their exams, honours first, second, and third-year students will be allowed to return in the second phase.
University Vice Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman visited Bijoy Ekattor Hall at 10 am. Like Eid, today is a day of happiness for us, he said.
“Students are being welcomed back to every hall and the atmosphere is electric. They are returning in a disciplined manner by getting their vaccinations and following hygiene rules. The halls and campuses are for students, but their return has created a stir among the teachers as well.”
Other students will be brought back to the halls as soon as possible, Akhtaruzzaman said.
“We are keeping two things in mind while attempting to bring back the students and resuming classes. One is the coronavirus infection rate in the country, which is now at an all-time low, and the other is getting students vaccinated, the pace of which is picking up as well. Both are looking promising. We will soon meet with the various university bodies and make a quick decision.”
All educational institutions were closed from Mar 18 of last year following the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country. The halls of DU were vacated as well.
The authorities have not yet reached a decision on when classes would resume. It was previously decided that educational activities would recommence after all students were vaccinated.
As many as 23,000 of 38,000 students have been vaccinated, said Prof Md Asif Hossain Khan, director of the university's ICT cell.
"So far, we have received information that about 23,000 students have received at least one dose of the vaccine. About 6,000 students have registered for the jabs through the Surokkha app and are now waiting for their SMS.”
Meanwhile, hand washing basins have been installed at the entrances of each hall to ensure hygiene.
The walls have been painted, new flowers planted and grass trimmed in the gardens to refresh the campus.
Dining rooms, canteens, cafeterias, and reading rooms have been cleaned. In addition to washing the toilets and bathrooms, some halls have also been renovated. Isolation centres have also been set up in some halls.
The university's Provost Standing Committee has also set up standard operating procedures to guide students amid the pandemic.