education in the Philippines

CHED: COVID-19 vaccination not required for students in limited face-to-face classes

Bonz Magsambol
CHED: COVID-19 vaccination not required for students in limited face-to-face classes

IN-PERSON CLASSES. Medical technology students resume their face-to-face class at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on October 20, 2021.

Rappler

'While we do not do require mandatory vaccinations, universities can do it because it's their facilities that are being managed,' says Chairman Prospero de Vera III

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) clarified on Thursday, October 21, that COVID-19 vaccination is not a requirement for college students attending limited face-to-face classes.

At the Senate budget hearing for the CHED’s 2022 budget on Thursday, Senator Francis Tolentino pressed Chairman Prospero de Vera III over the latter’s pronouncement supposedly requiring vaccinations for students.

Citing the Department of Justice, Tolentino said that a law is needed to make vaccination mandatory.

“I did not push for mandatory vaccination. In fact, the limited face-to-face classes in medicine and allied health sciences, there is no mandatory vaccination required, and for the next batch of limited face-to-face classes,” De Vera said in response.

Vaccination up to universities

The CHED chief said that their policy has been that it will be for the university to decide whether or not they will require vaccination for students attending limited face-to-face classes.

“While we do not do require mandatory vaccinations, universities can do it because it’s their facilities that are being managed,” De Vera said.

De Vera added: “If universities say only students who are vaccinated can do laboratory, the other have to do it virtually, that’s the decision of the university as far as I’m concerned. As long as education is still provided to students.”

De Vera said that the CHED encourages universities to make sure that students and faculty members are vaccinated to add another layer of protection.

This was not the first time that the CHED left policy decisions to colleges and universities. In November 2020, De Vera rejected calls for a unilateral suspension of classes in the country or in Luzon due to the recent disasters in parts of the country, saying this decision was best left to schools.

De Vera had said that colleges and universities were in the best position to decide on the matter since “different schools and different families are affected differently.”

In other countries, where face-to-face classes have already resumed, unvaccinated teachers and students were able to pass on the virus to others.

On October 7, the Philippine government began inoculating the rest of the general population against the deadly virus.

Aside from medicine and health sciences, the following higher education programs were already approved to hold limited face-to-face classes.

  • Engineering and technology programs
  • Hospitality/hotel and restaurant management
  • Tourism/travel management
  • Marine engineering
  • Marine transportation

– Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.