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Limited face-to-face classes: Six HEIs get nod
These are the University of the Philippines-Manila and University of Santo Tomas in Manila, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERM) in Quezon City, the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health in Pasig, Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) in Valenzuela and St. Louis University in Baguio.
Edd Gumban

Limited face-to-face classes: Six HEIs get nod

Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - March 6, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Six higher education institutions (HEIs) offering medical programs have received approval to conduct limited face-to-face classes, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman J. Prospero de Vera III told The STAR yesterday.

These are the University of the Philippines-Manila and University of Santo Tomas in Manila, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERM) in Quezon City, the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health in Pasig, Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) in Valenzuela and St. Louis University in Baguio.

In a Facebook post, OLFU said its College of Medicine started conducting limited face-to-face classes on March 1, with graduating students joining the first day of implementation.

“With approximately 100 students in this pioneering face-to-face batch, the future doctors are divided into four smaller groups that follow a well-orchestrated class schedule; thus regulating interactions to a manageable and safer scale,” said the university.

“The school, together with the students, teachers and staff, are likewise observing social distancing, health and hygiene practices – to the OLFU community’s benefit,” it added.

The UERM, in newspaper advertisements released on Friday, also announced receiving approval for the conduct of limited face-to-face classes for their programs in Medicine, Physical Therapy, Nursing and Medical Technology.

It was also allowed to conduct limited face-to-face classes on the practicum sessions of two of its graduate programs: Master of Science in Nursing (Advance Nursing Practice) and Master of Science in Asian Health Practices.

“During the site visit on Feb. 26, the CHED team, together with members from the Quezon City Health Department, expressed their approval of the layout of the retrofitted infrastructure at UERM and the appropriate health and safety policies and procedures already in place which are necessary for the smooth implementation of the face-to-face learning classes,” said the university.

De Vera earlier said that President Duterte’s directive to defer the conduct of limited face-to-face classes does not apply to HEIs as it was only a response to the proposal of the Department of Education, which is in charge of elementary and high schools.

CHED and the Department of Health (DOH) earlier issued a joint memorandum circular outlining the process for HEIs intending to hold limited face-to-face classes during the pandemic.

“Although flexible learning is deemed the most appropriate and safest pedagogical approach during the pandemic, there might be some instances that face-to-face delivery of certain courses is necessary,” read the circular dated Feb. 10.

For the gradual reopening of campuses, priority shall be given to select health-related degree programs regarded as vital in providing additional manpower support to the health system during the pandemic.

These include medicine, nursing, medical technology or medical laboratory science, physical therapy, midwifery and public health.

“The subjects or courses under these priority programs shall be allowed for face-to-face delivery and delimited to specialized laboratory courses or hospital-based clinical clerkship/internship/practicum, including clinical rotations for post-graduate medical interns,” it added.

Based on the guidelines, only students aged 20 years old and above who are enrolled in the priority degree programs and courses may be allowed to take limited face-to-face classes.

Students who will take part in face-to-face classes or activities shall also be registered by their HEIs; health facilities with PhilHealth or equivalent medical insurance that cover medical expenses related to COVID-19.

For HEIs in areas under modified general community quarantine, CHED may issue an authorization to conduct limited face-to-face classes upon compliance with the identified requirements and the submission of the application to concerned regional offices.

Meanwhile, those in areas under general community quarantine may only receive such authorization if they have base hospitals catering to COVID-19 patients.

No intern shall be allowed to rotate in the emergency room, outpatient department and COVID wards, it added.

CHED and the DOH maintained that the conduct of limited face-to-face classes is not mandatory.

All degree programs and courses not identified as priority shall continue to be delivered through flexible distance learning modalities.

“These programs, courses or subjects may be offered through face-to-face classes only when permitted by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and supplemental guidelines have been issued by CHED,” it added.

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