Vaccination program progress raises hopes for face-to-face classes soon in higher education

Published October 15, 2021, 5:45 PM

by Ben Rosario

With good signs that normalcy will be achieved soon, government must continue pursing efforts to lay the groundwork for the resumption of in-person classes in many parts of the country.

Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles

Rizal 2nd District Rep. Fidel Nograles made this call as he expressed confidence that the higher education sector “could achieve normalcy soon” as the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program showed encouraging progress.

Nograles noted that the Commission on Higher Education recently revealed that it is studying the viability of allowing colleges and universities in areas with low Covid-19 cases to conduct face-to-face classes for all degree courses.

“With vaccination for the general population starting in a few days and the relative success of the pilot implementation that the CHED had introduced in January, it’s a safe bet to say we could achieve normalcy soon,” Nograles said.

Vaccination for the general population will start on October 15.

Meanwhile, CHED said that of the 21,000 students from the 181 schools nationwide that held face-to-face classes in certain courses in January, only one percent had been infected with Covid-19, with no deaths or hospitalizations. Of 1,000 faculty members, 1.41 percent had been infected.

The low infection rate is proof that CHED and the Department of Health, among other agencies and the participating schools themselves, had been able to implement a proper system that ensured the protection of all involved, Nograles said.

“Now, with our vaccine supply steadying, we hope that all of our college students will be inoculated at the soonest possible time so that more areas in the country could return to the classroom setting,” the solon, who serves as the vice chair of the House Committee on Education, said.

“That being said, CHED and medical experts should asses what has been working and determine what could have been done in the isolated cases where infections occurred, so that these can be prevented.” Nograles is also a member of the CHED’s Technical Panel for Public Administration representing the government.

The Harvard-trained lawyer reiterated the need for the national government to ensure that vaccines are distributed equitably and efficiently.

“Perhaps we could also consider deputizing our educational institutions and allowing them to vaccinate their own members. This way, the government could cover more ground in the vaccination rollout and we could be closer to attaining herd immunity by the year’s end,” Nograles said,