Palace welcomes 'very good results' of pilot face-to-face classes in higher education institutions

Malacañang lauded the "very good results" achieved during the limited face-to-face classes in higher education institutions (HEIs) but said the full resumption of in-person classes still depends on the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a press briefing, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the government was already piloting face-to-face classes among HEIs.

"We are in the process of piloting limited face-to-face among higher learning institutions and so far it has very good results," he said Friday.

The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed the conduct of face-to-face classes among medical schools and allied medical professional schools.

According to Roque, the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), the first HEI to have face-to-face classes during the ongoing lockdown, showed good results.

"As of the last time na nagakusap kami ni CHED (Commission on Higher Education) Chair Popoy eh wala naman po nagkasakit doon sa medical students ng UP-PGH (As of the last time I spoke with chairman De Vera, none of the medical students at the UP-PGH got sick)," he said.

Despite this, Roque said the government still has to monitor the overall COVID-19 situation in the country as this will determine the fate of face-to-face classes at all school levels.

"We also have to monitor the sudden increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. I think the future of face-to-face classes will also depend on what will happen in the near future," he said.

In June last year, the IATF allowed HEIs to conduct face-to-face classes but at limited capacity in areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) while complying with minimum health standards.

"Limited face-to-face or in-person classes may be conducted in HEIs provided there is strict compliance with minimum public health standards, consultation with local government units, and compliance with guidelines set by CHED," the guidelines read.

"HEI activities that involve the mass gathering of students shall continue to be prohibited," it furthered.

President Duterte has thumbed down the resumption of face-to-face classes, saying he cannot put the safety and health of students at risk.