With high vaccination rate, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Popoy De Vera on Thursday, Oct. 28, said that Metro Manila is considered as a “prime candidate” for the resumption of face-to-face classes for all degree programs in the tertiary level.
During the ceremonial vaccination of student-athletes under National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Jose Rizal University in Mandaluyong, De Vera said that CHED is currently studying the possibility of allowing higher education institutions (HEIs) in the National Capital Region (NCR) to resume in-person classes for all degree programs once approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
“We are now exploring the possibilities that in areas where the COVID-19 cases are low and the vaccination rates are high, we might open face-to-face classes for all degree programs,” De Vera said in a mix of English and Filipino.
De Vera noted that the resumption of face-to-face learning is more possible if the vaccination rate of students, faculty and other school employees as well as those in the community, is high.
If the inoculation rate in a specific area is high, De Vera said that it would be easier to convince those who have yet to get vaccinated to take the COVID-19 jab.
“Metro Manila is a prime candidate for this,” De Vera said.
As of January this year, only select students taking up Medicine and Allied Health Sciences were allowed to attend limited face-to-face classes following the inspection of the schools.
More than 180 universities and colleges nationwide have been allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes — offering at least over 300 degree programs.
De Vera said that there the HEIs “did a good job” in the first batch of students who were allowed to attend limited in-person classes with “less than one percent” contracted COVID-19.
With this, De Vera said that CHED once again appealed to the IATF for the expansion of limited in-person classes for other degree programs.
In September, the expansion of limited in-person activities for the second batch which include engineering and technology programs, hospitality/hotel and restaurant management, tourism/ travel management, marine engineering, and marine transportation were allowed by President Duterte.
When it comes to limited face-to-face classes, De Vera said that CHED “goes by degree programs and by geographic location.”
De Vera noted that depending on several factors such as vaccination rate in schools and communities, the readiness of the schools, and the coordination with the local government units (LGUs), face-to-face classes for all degree programs might be allowed soon.