CHED to HEIs: Ensure safety of studes once classes start
CEBU, May 13 (PIA) — Higher education institutions (HEIs) are advised to adopt safety measures, putting in place the appropriate protocols to ensure the health and safety of the students, amidst the Covid pandemic once classes start in August.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has released Advisory No. 6 that recommends HEIs and state universities and colleges (SUCs) to institute the necessary guidelines and protocols that will promote the health and safety of students and teachers, especially in Covid-affected areas.
Apart from the required protocols, CHED has also suggested to HEIs and SUCs to gear towards a modified academic plan and flexible learning system, as the health emergency sees no end soon.
“We must make use of technology or a combination of offline and online classes as well as utilize best practices for learning under a ‘new normal’,” said Dr. Sotera Cagang, regional information officer of CHED Central Visayas.
Under the new normal, gone are the traditional way of holding classes where students are holed up in a classroom for physical learning, as minimum health measures need to be implemented such as physical distancing, said Cagang during the “Straight From the Source” Special Interview on COVID-19 undertaken by the Philippine Information Agency 7.
With limited classroom space, HEIs and SUCs need to adopt strategic ways on how to conduct learning fit for virtual lessons while face-to-face engagements are allowed granting that these should be conducted in a huge space to ensure physical distancing, said Cagang.
She said most HEIs and SUCs have adopted the new school calendar from August to December and January to May, which gives them ample time to prepare before classes begin.
According to Cagang, there are 185 HEIs in Central Visayas, with 125 of these from Cebu, followed by Bohol with 29 and 27 in Negros Oriental, and four from Siquijor.
Based on the 2019-2020 school year enrollment, the tertiary student population in Region 7 is at 149,311, as Cagang said she is optimistic that the same number will still enrol for the calendar year 2020-2021, amidst reports on rise in temporary unemployment.
“For state universities and colleges where enrolment is free, we still expect the same number of students to enrol for school year 2020-2021,” she said, but admitted that there might be changes in the number of student enrollees in the private tertiary institutions.
Minimum health measures must also be implemented in all HEIs when classes open to include the use of thermal guns and sanitation practices like frequent disinfection, said Cagang.
Meanwhile, Cagang said a suggestion cropped up during a meeting with Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia that student support services be made available by tertiary educational institutions to include the creation of a task force on managing COVID-19.
“The health and safety of students and teachers are always a priority,” said Cagang. (fcr/PIA7)