MANILA, Philippines – As planned, limited face-to-face classes for higher education institutions (HEIs) are set to begin in areas placed under Alert Level 3 in the Philippines on January 31, said the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
“The date of the phase 2 of the implementation of limited face-to-face classes for all programs of HEIs in areas under Alert Level 3 should begin on 31 January 2022 (Monday),” CHED said in an advisory on Tuesday, January 11.
By phase 2, CHED was referring to its plan as early as November 2021 that face-to-face classes in HEIs would push through even in Alert Level 3 areas. Face-to-face classes in areas with lower alert levels had already started in December 2021, which was phase 1 of CHED’s reopening plan.
This reopening is not forced on colleges and universities. School administrators can continue with online classes if they see it best for their students.
If they wish to hold face-to-face classes, schools must first comply with standards set by CHED for safe classes. For Alert Level 3 areas, HEIs must only allow a maximum of 30% indoor venue capacity, and 50% outdoor capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only. Unvaccinated students cannot join.
These guidelines, however, were made by the Philippine government before the highly contagious Omicron variant hit the country. At the time, the government was only facing the Delta variant of the virus. Omicron is three to five times more infectious than Delta.
CHED has not yet released a list of schools that have applied for reopening in Alert Level 3 areas.