The House of Representatives Committee on Higher and Technical Education, chaired by Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, addressed the issues on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes in all degree programs of higher education institutions (HEIs) during a briefing with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Monday, Nov. 15.
The committee discussed the said problems with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) during the meeting which was also attended by representatives from Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (COCOPEA), Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAPSCU). Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), Association of Local Colleges and Universities (ALCU), Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU), among others.
CHED chairperson Prospero “Popoy” de Vera during the briefing presented an outline tackling the status on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes under community quarantine classification for COVID-19 response, vaccination status of HEI personnel and tertiary students as well as initiatives, proposed phased implementation of limited face-to-face classes Alert Levels Systems (ALS) for COVID-19 response, and the salient provisions of proposed guidelines for the implementation of limited face-to-face classes under ALS for COVID-19 response.
De Vera cited that the National Capital Region (NCR) has the highest number of vaccinated students at 46.18% while Region 12 has the lowest with 11.28% as of November 4.
He also noted that Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has the largest number of vaccinated HEI personnel at 91.22% while Region 4B has the lowest at 56.58%.
The CHED chairperson also revealed the CHED-Department of Health (DOH) joint memorandum circular No. 2021-004 which gives the guidelines for the implementation of limited face-to-face classes for all programs of HEIs in areas under ALS for COVID-19 response.
Based on the said joint memorandum circular, the safe reopening of campuses of HEIs for limited face-to-face classes for all programs will go through a phasing and implementation process.
Phase 1 will apply for all regions under Alert Level 2 starting December this year onwards while Phase 2 will apply for all regions under Alert Level 3 beginning January 2022 onwards.
Only fully vaccinated students of HEIs located in areas under ALS, as permitted by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), shall be allowed to join limited face-to-face classes.
Limited face-to-face classes, however, will not be mandatory for HEIs which are using flexible learning under CHED Memorandum Order No. 4 series of 2020 and for students who prefer not to attend the said classes.
The committee took note of the issues on vaccine hesitancy among students and HEI personnel, retrofitting of facilities of HEI campuses, establishment of a Crisis Management Committee, implementation of cyclical student shifting model, and the conduct of physical education (PE) classes and off-campus activities in HEIs. (Melvin Sarangay)