education in the Philippines

Full classroom capacity allowed for colleges, universities in Alert Level 1 areas – IATF

Bonz Magsambol
Full classroom capacity allowed for colleges, universities in Alert Level 1 areas – IATF

Graduating nursing students and faculty of Universidad de Manila conduct face-to-face classes as they undergo accreditation by the Association of Local Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation on November 22, 2021, before they will be allowed to open. Rappler

Only fully vaccinated teachers, non-teaching personnel and students are allowed to join in in-person classes. Students, who are unvaccinated, may continue the flexible learning options at home.

MANILA, Philippines – The government pandemic task force has allowed 100% classroom capacity for in-person classes for higher education institutions (HEIs) in areas under Alert Level 1, Malacañang said on Friday, March 11.

“On classroom capacity, the allowable seating capacity in classrooms of HEIs in areas under Alert Level 1 is at a maximum of 100% capacity,” acting deputy presidential spokesperson Kris Ablan said at press briefing.

Ablan said that this was contained in the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) Resolution 164 issued on Friday.

However, only fully vaccinated teachers, non-teaching personnel and students are allowed to join in in-person classes. Students, who are unvaccinated, may continue the flexible learning options at home.

As for dormitories, there will be no restrictions as to the operational capacity as long as they secure clearance from their respective local government unit (LGU).

HEIs should take the self-assessment checklist as per Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-Department of Health Joint Memorandum Circular No. 004-2021, and operate under self re-opening.

Ablan said that schools can still get technical assistance from their LGUs, local task force, CHED regional offices, and experts group. He added that HEIs have the discretion which learning modalities they would use, as long as there will be continuity of learning.

Insurance needed

Malacañang also said that students joining the in-person classes must be registered with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) or any medical insurance covering expenses for COVID-19.

“HEIs shall ensure that students who will participate in the conduct of limited face-to-face classes are registered with PhilHealth or with equivalent medical insurance which covers medical expenses related to COVID-19 , as either direct or indirect contributor,” the IATF resolution read.

The IATF resolution also said students aged 21 and above may enroll in PhilHealth as indigent members, with the basis that the student has no visible means of income. Those below 21 may be classified as dependents of their parents or legal guardians.

If the above condition will not be met, the HEI will facilitate the necessary medical treatment or procedures should a student gets COVID-19 while joining in-person classes, the IATF resolution said.

Currently, Metro Manila and some 39 other areas are under Alert Level 1.

Under Alert Level 1 or what the government considers as the “new normal,” establishments and public transportation are allowed to be fully operational. There are also no restrictions on the movement of people from different age groups, though this is subject to specific rules that vary among local government units. 

After reeling from the surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, COVID-19 cases in the Philippines continue to decline, with infections staying below 1,000 for more than a week. – 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.