Mass gatherings in HEIs under MGCQ now allowed

Published June 21, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos  and Genalyn Kabiling 

 

The government has decided to allow mass gatherings in higher educational institutions (HEIs), saying such activities are now allowed as long as they adhere to safety and health protocols.

Based on Resolution No. 47 of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, mass gatherings in HEIs can now take place.

“Mass gatherings in [HEIs] shall follow the existing guidelines under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ),” the resolution read.

“The prohibition on mass gatherings in [HEIs] is hereby deleted,” it furthered.

The IATF has agreed to allow mass gatherings under MGCQ but only at 50 percent seating capacity to ensure that physical distancing is observed.

These include religious activities, entertainment activities such as theaters and cinemas, and sports activities.

The IATF has allowed HEIs to conduct face-to-face classes but at limited capacity in areas under the MGCQ. However, they should comply with minimum health standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Palace had earlier announced that HEIs can open as early as August, 2020, as long as they utilize flexible learning arrangements.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque had earlier announced that the opening of classes in college will be based on education delivery mode:

* HEIs using full online education can open anytime.

* HEIs using flexible learning can open anytime in August, 2020.

* HEIs using significant residential (face-to-face/in-person) mode can open not earlier than September 1, 2020, in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ).

* No residential (face-to-face/ in-person) classes until August 31, 2020.

Private HEIs are encouraged to change their academic calendar and open in August, 2020.

The IATF has adopted the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan of the Department of Education (DepEd) which entails the reopening of classes on August 24 and will end on April 31 for K to 12 Basic Education.

President Duterte has strongly opposed allowing students to have face-to-face classes while there is no vaccine or cure yet for COVID-19. DepEd has resorted to the implementation of blended learning which utilizes the Internet and broadcast media.

Roque said on Saturday that chances of allowing face-to-face classes in for K to 12 Basic Education were still slim but said the President can still change his mind as the opening of classes was still two months away.

“Hayaan ninyo po, never say die ‘no. Pagdating naman po ng Agosto, titingnan natin ang datos kung gaano karaming lugar ang nasa new normal na at ibibigay natin uli ‘no ang suhestiyon na baka naman pupuwede nang mag-face-to-face doon sa mga new normal (Don’t worry. Never say die. We’ll look over the data again in August to see how many places will be placed under the new normal and we will suggest again face-to-face classes in those areas),” he said.

Face-to-face

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) may resume face-to-face vocational education classes at half venue capacity in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) based on a recent decision of a government task force.

Technical vocational education and training (TVET) programs through full online, distance learning, among other methods, have been allowed in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas, according to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The latest decision on the limited resumption of vocational classes was reached by the IATF during a video conference meeting last June 19 as the government eased quarantine measures in some parts of the country. The government’s omnibus guidelines on the community quarantine were amended to cover the latest rule on vocational education.

“Face-to-face TVET training and competency assessment may be conducted at up to 50% training and assessment site capacity, provided there is strict compliance with minimum public health standards, TESDA guidelines and consultation with local government units,” IATF said in Resolution No. 47, inserting the new paragraph under MGCQ guidelines.

For GCQ areas, the task force has allowed the resumption of certain trainings and assessments conducted or provided by Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs) and TESDA Technology Institutions (TTIs) provided health precautions are followed.

The trainings include full online/ e-learning trainings, distance learning for TVET programs, training programs related to agriculture and fishery for food production and processing, and e-learning component of blended learning for TVET programs.

Also allowed are dual training system, enterprise-based training and in-plant training in establishments allowed to operate under GCQ as well as virtual assessment and portfolio assessment through electronic means for certain TVET qualifications.

 
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