Exercise caution vs possible Omicron transmission during face-to-face classes, CHED told


The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), as well as higher education institutions (HEIs) that will offer limited face-to-face classes, were advised to take caution against possible transmission of the Omicron variant.



During a webinar entitled “COVID-19 Situationer and Omicron Variant Implications for the Resumption of Limited Face-to-face classes” on Thursday, Jan. 27, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the government has allowed school reopening in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3.

However, should these schools reopen face-to-face classes, they must proceed with caution --- especially with the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“We have to exercise caution against a possible Omicron transmission while allowing reopening schools in areas under Alert levels 1 to 3,” Vergeire said as part of the key strategies for safe school reopening recommended by DOH.

Aside from this, Vergeire said that schools that will offer limited face-to-face classes should also “ensure implementation of minimum public health standards (MPHS).”

Moreover, Vergeire said that DOH highly encouraged students and personnel (both teaching and non-teaching) to be vaccinated and acquire booster shots against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We recommend the conduct of strict symptom monitoring with immediate quarantine or isolation of individuals who are symptomatic,” Vergeire explained.

More importantly, Vergeire said that schools should “prepare for contingency plans which are ready to be implemented when individuals develop COVID-19 symptoms.”

Attended by representatives from various HEIs, CHED Chairperson Popoy De Vera said that the webinar aims to inform the higher education sector on the current status of COVID-19 cases in the country --- including high-risk areas, projection, and other related topics.

During the webinar, the implications and case management of the Omicron variant for the conduct of limited face-to-face classes were also discussed.

“All throughout the period of COVID, I think one of the strengths on why higher education has been able to adjust is because we constantly meet and constantly talk,” De Vera said.

De Vera hoped that through the webinar, CHED will be able to help HEIs make data-driven decisions as they prepare for the resumption of the limited face-to-face classes.