PANAJI: For the first time after the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, the Goa government on Monday decided to allow institutes imparting higher education to hold offline classes for students with all protocols in place.

A circular issued by Director of Higher Education Prasad Lolayekar said the state government has lifted the restrictions imposed on educational Institutions for conducting classes in a physical mode.

“The Heads of Educational Institutions under the purview of the Directorate of Higher Education may take appropriate decision to conduct classes in the physical mode for the new academic year 2021-22 based on the ground realities and the infrastructure availability, after following proper SOPs pertaining to Covid19 pandemic,” it reads.

This decision will be applicable to graduate and post-graduate students.

All non-vaccinated staff members, excluding those who cannot be vaccinated because they were/ are COVID-19 positive, shall produce an RT-PCR test report every week, the circular said.

The state’s COVID-19 tally went up by 62 on Monday to touch 1,72,568, while the day also saw five patients succumbing to the infection and 96 recovering, an official said.

The toll in the coastal state is 3,176 and the recovery count is 1,68,519, leaving it with 873 active cases, he said.

With 4,225 samples being examined in the last 24 hours, the number of tests in Goa went up to 11,32,949, he added.

Goa’s COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 1,72,568, new cases 62, death toll 3176, discharged 168519, active cases 873, samples tested till date 11,32,949.