Colleges and universities have been asked to move laboratory subjects and other courses requiring face-to-face mode to the second semester of 2020-2021 school year as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chair Prospero de Vera III, lectures and theoretical classes will instead be conducted online during the first semester.
De Vera announced the latest changes in the conduct of university classes during a meeting with President Duterte and other officials on the government’s coronavirus response Wednesday night.
“So sa first sem ang ituturo lang lahat nung mga klase na regular na puwedeng lectures — theoretical doon sa first sem. Imo-move natin sa second semester ‘yung kailangang pupunta (So regular classes on lectures, theoretical will be taught in the first semester. We will move to second semester those that require them to go) so the options will be from the more open limited face-to-face in low-risk MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) areas to the most conservative do it in second semester,” he said.
De Vera also informed the President about the imminent closure of some colleges due to the drop in enrollment this school year. Some schools are also reportedly having difficulty on how to proceed with online learning due to lack of internet connection in some areas.
“Mayroon na pong ilang eskuwelahan na nagsabi sa CHED na magsasara sila dahil ‘yung enrollment ho ay talagang bumaba, natatakot ang mga magulang at estudyante, at mayroon na hong ilan na nag-report sa CHED. Ang problema ho wala kaming policy sa pagsara kasi itong COVID ay hindi pa nangyari sa matagal na panahon, so we are only crafting it (Some schools have informed CHED that they will close down because enrollment has really dropped. Parents and students are afraid and some have reported this to CHED. The problem is we don’t have a policy on closure because COVID has never happened this time so we are only crafting it),” he added.
CHED recently announced that higher education institutions will open the semester in August using flexible learning method. There will be no regular face-to-face classes in August, De Vera said in a recent statement.
The government has pushed for blended learning methods in lieu of physical classes this school year to protect students from the coronavirus outbreak. President Duterte earlier wanted to suspend face-to-face classes until the coronavirus vaccine is found to avoid the infection of students.
In MGCQ areas, the government ruled that limited face-to-face or in-person classes may be conducted in HEIs provided there is strict compliance with minimum public health standards. There must also be consultation with local government units and compliance with guidelines set by CHED.
In areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), CHED recommended the rolling opening of classes for HEIs based on education delivery mode, compliance with minimum health standards and the situation on the ground.