For the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), vaccinating education frontliners and students against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is very crucial for the gradual reopening of schools even amidst a pandemic.
“We want to vaccinate everyone, that’s the correct way to do things ” CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera said in a virtual press briefing after the ceremonial vaccination of tertiary students in Mabalacat City College in Pampanga on Wednesday, Oct. 13. “The assurance of additional level safety is there so we can slowly reopen our schools,” he added.
To highlight the urgency of vaccinating students, CHED launched its vaccination caravan. With the theme, “Padyak para sa Flexible Learning: Sama-samang Vaccination Program,” MCC became the first leg for the caravan where 500 students were vaccinated against COVID-19.
Aside from being part of general vaccination instructed by President Duterte, De Vera said that vaccinating all students at the tertiary level is very crucial for the resumption of limited face-to-face learning.
“We can successfully do that if we increase the level of safety for everyone in the schools – faculty, employees and the students,” De Vera said.
Amid the clamor to allow face-to-face classes at the tertiary level, De Vera noted that CHED is regularly monitoring the developments related to the public health situation.
“Our approach when it comes to limited face-to-face classes is by degree programs,” De Vera said in a mix of English and Filipino.
While there is no “prioritization” when it comes to degree programs that will be allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes, De Vera said that those that require hands-on learning are taken into utmost consideration.
“Priority is given to degree programs where hands-on learning is non-negotiable,” De Vera said.
Aside from this, the readiness of the HEI to hold safe limited face-to-face classes and other activities is a major factor to get the approval of CHED and the Department of Health (DOH).
“Facilities must be retrofitted and the flexible learning curriculum should be there,” he added.
Offering limited face-to-face classes, De Vera stressed, depends on the local government units (LGUs) and the discretion of the schools. Another major consideration is the vaccination rate of the HEIs.
However, De Vera clarified that “we’re not vaccinating to do limited face-to-face classes, we are vaccinating because that is the instruction or objective of the national government – to vaccinate everyone.”