To ensure the safety of students in higher education institutions (HEIs) that have been allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said that majority of them are “now vaccinated” against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Marami sa kanila ay nabakunahan na dahil tayo ay humingi ng tulong sa DOH [Department of Health] at na-classify ‘yung mga estudyante at saka ‘yung mga clinical instructors sa medicine – dahil sila ay pumupunta sa mga hospital – na medical frontliners (Many of them have been vaccinated already because we asked help from the DOH and the students and the clinical instructors for medicine – because they go to hospitals frequently – as as medical frontliners),” he explained.
Based on the classification set by the government for vaccination, medical frontliners belong to A1 category. “Karamihan sa kanila ay nabakunahan na pareho ang teacher at saka estudyante kaya mayroong dagdag na proteksyon (Majority of them, the teachers and students, are already vaccinated so they have added protection [against COVID-19]),” he added.
Meanwhile, De Vera is also pushing for the inclusion of students who are attending limited face-to-face classes in the government’s priority list for COVID-19 vaccination. He noted that many of these students are already adults or 18 years old and above.
Currently, De Vera mentioned that there are 73 colleges and universities that have been approved to hold limited face-to-face classes for medicine and health allied sciences.
The students in these HEIs, De Vera said, should be included in the priority since they are all qualified in the vaccination program. “Those attending limited face-to-face classes are already in their third to fourth year and are in their 20s so they should be prioritized because they are qualified,” he explained in a mix of English and Filipino.
Aside from medicine, students who are taking up Nursing, Medical Technology, Physical Therapy, Midwifery, and Public Health have also been allowed to attend limited in-person classes in HEIs that have been approved by CHED, DOH and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
De Vera said that limited face-to-face classes in HEIs cleared by CHED started as early as January this year after securing President Duterte’s approval.