If medical schools that were allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes have zero transmission of COVID-19 cases, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will ask President Rodrigo Duterte to allow another batch of students to do in-person classes.
CHED chair Prospero de Vera III said this in a press briefing on Tuesday, May 18, when asked whether the commission would allow other programs to do limited face-to-face classes.
“First, we have to see whether the first batch of those allowed limited face-to-face work, meaning we have to get data if students are really safe –there’s no infection, no transmission. Once the data is available, I would go to the President and ask for the next batch,” De Vera said.
He said that the second batch would probably be engineering, information technology, industrial technology, and maritime programs.
De Vera explained: “Because these are degree programs that have a lot of hands-on activities that cannot be delivered virtually. But all of that is contingent on the safety of students in the first batch.”
The CHED chair said that initial data on those allowed limited face-to-face classes showed “positive” results.
“The initial data is very positive, like in the UP College of Medicine in the first two months of classes, there was zero transmission. I was told Our Lady of Fatima in the first month also had zero transmission,” De Vera said.
“If this holds true in the more than 60 universities that have been allowed face-to face classes, then the CHED commission on en banc will study and recommend for the second batch,” he added.
The commission has allowed 64 higher education institutions to hold limited face-to-face classes for their medical and allied health programs.
Malacañang said the move to hold limited physical classes was to ensure that the country has enough doctors as it continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. (READ: LIST: Medical schools in the Philippines allowed to hold face-to-face classes)
Philippine schools have stopped face-to-face classes for over a year now. Classes are currently being done via distance learning.
Many students and groups have also called for an “academic freeze” as the country fights the pandemic. They pointed out that the coronavirus lockdown affected household finances, and many Filipinos don’t even have access to a computer or the internet. – Rappler.com