The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Tuesday, Sept. 28, confirmed that limited face-to-face classes will now be allowed in other higher education degree programs other than medicine and allied health sciences.
This after getting the approval of President Duterte approved the CHED’s request for the expansion of limited face-to-face classes to other degree programs that require hands-on experience in higher education institutions (HEIs) under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
“The urgent need for hands-on experience and the safety of students taking up medicine and allied health courses, who were permitted by the national government to conduct limited face-to-face classes since January 2021, is the key for CHED to recommend on the expansion proposal,” said CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera.
Since January this year, only schools that offer medical and allied health sciences were allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes.
The CHED presented to Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) the “evidence on the ground” that would show that the mechanisms that have been put in place such as retrofitting of facilities by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs,) observance of health protocols, putting up of Crisis Management Committees, coordination with local government units (LGUs) concerned among others — were “effective in ensuring the achievement of the competencies of students/graduates without compromising their safety.”
De Vera said that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Sept. 21, 2021 issued the authority for face to face activities in the following areas: Engineering and Technology programs, Hospitality/ Hotel and Restaurant Management, Tourism/ Travel Management, Marine Engineering, and Marine Transportation.
Meanwhile, CHED thanked the President for the approval of limited face-to-face classes for the said programs.
This, De Vera stressed, would “contribute to the efforts to boost the economic recovery of the country, as this will directly affect human resource development.”
De Vera explained that based on the data CHED gathered on the ground, there is a “small percentage of students and faculty members” who were affected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“I’m convinced that it is safe to hold face-to-face classes and it can be expanded to cover other degree programs,” De Vera said.
CHED noted that of the close to 2,000 universities and colleges, about almost half have already opened the school year.
“Others are planning to start classes in October or November,” the Commission added.
De Vera said that he has been in “constant discussion” with National Task Force (NTF) Chief Implementor Carlito G. Galvez.
“We are now aggressively pushing for the vaccination of all faculty, staff and students in HEIs to add another layer of protection to our face-to-face classes,” De Vera explained.
De Vera said that some of the HEIs have already completed the vaccination of their employees and students. “We aim to do it for other HEIs as more vaccines arrive,” he added.
Given this, De Vera assured the students, parents and faculty that holding in-person classes is “safe” because “our guidelines are strict.”