E. Visayas colleges, universities gear up for F2F classes

Published December 5, 2021, 4:10 PM

by Marie Tonette Marticio

TACLOBAN CITY – Amid threats of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), state universities and colleges in Eastern Visayas are gearing up for face-to-face classes in the second semester.

Although higher education institutions were allowed to hold limited in-person classes in December, most of the institutions opted to follow the opening of the second semester in January.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Prospero de Vera III said that the number of those who would be able to participate would depend on fully vaccinated students and instructors.

He shared that as of November 25, at least 82.45 percent of higher education institutions personnel and 45.91 percent of the student population in the Philippines have been inoculated against the disease.

However, De Vera clarified that the condition is non-discriminatory and not violative of the rights of those unvaccinated.

“There is no discrimination since everyone has the opportunity to participate in classes. Those unvaccinated will not be allowed to attend face-to-face classes to protect the vaccinated faculty and students,” he explained.

The official stressed that retrofitting classrooms is non-negotiable aside from the observance of health protocols.

However, unlike in grade schools, putting barriers between learners is not required as long as there is proper ventilation in the classroom.

He also urged the HEIs to seek the assistance of the LGUs for the retrofitting such as the local health offices and the assurance of availability of transportation and other needs of the students.

Meanwhile, Eastern Visayas State University Dennis De Paz said they would prioritize 3rd and 4th year students for the face-to-face classes for now since they are the ones who have laboratory activities.

He added that they are working on ensuring proper distance among students that is why they would be divided into groups and would have separate entrance and exit points.

The school has also prepared isolation rooms for those who would be showing symptoms of the virus.