The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi has told its students through an official notice that if they contract the coronavirus, they will not be given any leeway in attendance, a move that has drawn widespread criticism online.
In an email sent to students yesterday, the university said it is expecting to begin in-person classes, like other educational institutions across the country, from September 15 and shared with them "detailed SOPs" for when classes begin.
"The Institute would like to remind its students that although Covid-19 cases are declining in the country, it is by no means over. Any carelessness on our part is likely to increase the spread of virus," the email said, adding that following standard operating produces (SOPs) and preventive measures for curbing the spread of the virus was crucial.
"All students are requested to follow safety measures such as wearing a mask on campus, frequent washing and sanitising of hands, avoiding all forms of physical contact and maintaining a physical distance of three to six feet with others," it read, adding a link for the new SOPs that will be in place once the varsity opens.
However, according to IBA's new Covid-19 guidelines shared in the same email, students will not be given any leeway in attendance if they "contract the virus".
"Absences allowed for a course as per policy will remain in force and no exception on medical grounds will be given. Use your absences wisely, be cautious in late comings and in skipping classes," the guidelines state.
At the same time, the same document also advises students with the flu or those exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms to avoid coming to campus and to remain under observation at their residence.
According to the institute's attendance policy that came into effect on January 15, every full-time student is required to attend at least 83 per cent of the sessions of each course in which they are enrolled.
For the upcoming semester, this means students will not be allowed to miss more than two classes for some courses while for others a maximum of five absences are allowed.
"A failure to maintain attendance up to the mandatory 83pc mark will result in the student being awarded an 'F' grade in the attendance deficient course," the policy states.
Two students and one instructor, all of whom wanted to remain anonymous, confirmed while talking to Dawn.com that this was the latest attendance policy issued by the varsity.
Dawn.com tried to reach the concerned varsity official, whose telephone number has been given under the latest attendance policy document, but could not get through.
The news was met with anger and surprise on social media by students and concerned citizens alike.
"What on earth is wrong with #IBAKarachi?" wrote one Twitter user.
Some netizens also shared the link to a Change.org petition against the school's attendance policy during the pandemic.
Another urged federal education minister Shafqat Mehmood to take notice of the issue.
"IBA Karachi has denied any medical leaves. This is inhumane. So they'll fail us and our fees and time will be wasted," he said.