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IATF OKs limited face-to-face classes in universities below Alert Level 3

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
IATF OKs limited face-to-face classes in universities below Alert Level 3
Students wearing protective face masks have their temperatures taken while entering their college campus in Manila on January 31, 2020
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The pandemic task force has approved the Commission on Higher Education's proposal for limited in-person learning to resume in universities in areas below Alert Level 3. 

Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said Wednesday the task force had approved Resolution 148-G, which allows for the move. 

Following the pronouncement, limited face-to-face classes are now allowed provided indoor venue capacity is set at 50%. 

IATF said there should also be no opposition from respective local governments, and it would remain limited only to fully vaccinated teaching and support staff as well as students. 

"CHED is mandated to execute the phased implementation program to ensure the safe reopening of higher education campuses," Nograles said in a statement. 

Phase 1 of the implementation would begin on December this year, where universities in areas under Alert Level 2 could begin applying for limited physical classes. 

The IATF has set the Phase 2 from January 2022 onwards, where higher educational institutions under Alert Level 3 could then start the application process. 

Classes in the tertiary level had been conducted remotely since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic hit the Philippines. 

But some programs have been allowed for a limited resumption since then, primarily on medical and health allied programs, as well as a select few requiring in-person training. 

The National Capital Region is among the areas under Alert Level 2, with the Department of Health classifying it now as "low-risk" for COVID-19 after months of a Delta variant-driven surge. 

Still, IATF sought to remind that the gradual return to classrooms for college students should be done with "proactive measures and restrictions" to prevent COVID-19 infections. 

These, it said, include COVID-19 vaccination for eligible participants, the continuous wearing of face masks, physical distancing and hand washing. 

IATF's pronouncement noticeably no longer included the wearing of face shields which had been mandatory for almost a year. 

This week, the Duterte administration relaxed the long criticized policy, and said the wearing of such would be limited to areas under higher alert levels.

"As we slowly and cautiously open our college classrooms," the task force said, "we urge all stakeholders involved to work together to ensure the safety of our students so that they may be able to return to their schools secure in the knowledge that every effort has been made to safeguard their health."

ALERT LEVEL SYSTEM COVID-19
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 12, 2021 - 9:10am

Follow this thread for updates on when classes will resume, and how those classes will be conducted.

Photo: Students wearing protective face masks have their temperatures taken while entering their college campus in Manila on January 31, 2020. AFP/Ted Aljibe

November 12, 2021 - 9:10am

The Department of Education announces that it will increase the number of participating schools in the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes.

"The expansion of the number of pilot schools will allow a greater degree of experience among all our regions that will serve us well for the expanded phase of face-to-face classes," DepEd says.

November 10, 2021 - 6:56pm

COVID-19 immunization has started for tertiary students in Ilocos Norte as part of the massive vaccination campaign of the Commission on Higher Education. 

This in preparation for the reopening of in-person tertiary classes, CHED-Regional Office 1 said as a ceremonial vaccination of students at Mariano Marcos State University was held on Monday in collaboration with the Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government, the provincial government and Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center. 

About 800 students are expected to be inoculated through the CHED immunization drive. 

Prior to this, MMSU had already vaccinated 75% of its student population. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 28, 2021 - 8:13pm

President Rodrigo Duterte has authorized limited face-to-face classes for the following programs: 

  1. Engineering and Technology programs
  2. Hospitality/ Hotel and Restaurant Management
  3. Tourism/ Travel Management
  4. Marine Engineering
  5. Marine Transportation

Commission on Higher Education Chairman Popoy De Vera, who made the announcement, said the authorization applies to "degree programs that require hands-on experience in higher education institutions under Modified General Community Quarantine."

September 27, 2021 - 3:32pm

WHO Philippines says it applauds the government's decision to approve the pilot run of limited face-to-face classes in low-risk areas.

Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative in the Philippines, says they will continue to work with the government, particularly the DepEd and DOH, to support safe in-person learning.

"very child has the right to education, & schools are central to children’s development, safety, & well-being. Prolonged school closures have a significant impact on their physical & mental health development, and their skills attainment and career prospects," Abeyasinghe says.

September 26, 2021 - 3:09pm

Father-of-two Shkelqim Kameni took his children out of school because of Austria's strict COVID testing for pupils and his opposition to the vaccine.

The 28-year-old shop manager from the western city of Salzburg is among a sharp rise in parents opting to homeschool instead.

Even weeks before the new school year started this month, the divisive issue garnered media coverage and has provoked heated exchanges online between parents.

Speaking to AFP at an anti-vaccine demonstration, Kameni said he was afraid that rigorous Covid testing created too much pressure in the classroom.

"Probably a child (who tests positive) will be mobbed... it's psychological abuse of children; it's child abuse," he said at the rally in downtown Vienna this month, attended by thousands.

More than 7,500 children have been withdrawn from school for this academic year, the education ministry says. — AFP

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