At least 731 out of the 2,400 higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country have started classes this month, while 186 HEIs are scheduled to open classes in September and October, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) said Thursday.
CHEd chairman Prospero De Vera said 20 private HEIs have already opened classes in June and July and most of these universities have adopted the full online learning system.
He explained the rolling opening of classes was based on the education delivery mode and compliance to the minimum health protocols and situation on the ground.
"Yung mga pamantasan na kaya mag full online ay maaaring magbukas simula June. Yung mga pamantasan na gagamit ng combination ng online at offline o blended learning ay pwede magbukas ng Agosto. Yung mga di kaya ay kailangan magbukas later (Those universities that can go full online could open in June. The universities that use a combination of online and offline or blended learning could open in August. Those who are not capable of opening during this period can open later)," De Vera said during a Palace briefing on Thursday.
He noted that CHEd continues to consult with state universities and colleges (SUCs), LUCs, and HEIs in crafting guidelines for limited face-to-face classes among other policies.
Meanwhile, the CHEd chair said that 28 SUCs have offered their facilities as quarantine areas or isolation units .
So far, 20,000 locally stranded individuals, asymptomatic patients, and suspected COVID-19 cases, have been served by these facilities since June, De Vera said.
Since students are not yet allowed to come to campus and attend class in physical classrooms, "tuloy-tuloy ito hanggang kailangan ng local governments iyong pasilidad ng state universities (This will continue as long as local governments need the facilities of state universities for quarantine purposes)."
De Vera also reported CHEd has suspended the conduct of National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) and the Student Internship Abroad Programs for the school year 2020-2021.
The NMAT, which is a prerequisite for admission into medical schools, was supposed to take place in March but was postponed due to restrictions in activities to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Likewise, the CHEd has decided to postpone foreign internships for this school year.
"Para siguruhin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga estudyante, sinuspinde na ng commission lahat ng foreign internships ngayong school year na ito. Dahil hindi tayo sigurado sa kalagayan ng ating mga estudyante kapag sila ay pinaalis natin (To ensure the safety of our students, the commission has suspended all foreign internships this school year. We will not be assured of the condition of our students if we still allow them to pursue internships abroad)," De Vera said.
"Hindi natin alam kung ang pupuntahan nilang lugar ay ligtas at kapag nagkaproblema sila ay nahihirapan tayo kung paano sila ibabalik sa Pilipinas (We do not know if their destination is safe. If they would be in trouble we will be having a hard time bringing them back to the Philippines)," he added.