MANILA — The local government of Manila approved Wednesday the University of Santo Tomas' proposal to hold limited face-to-face classes for medical and allied health programs.
The plan was approved in a meeting between UST and city government officials, including Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, the Manila Public Information Office (PIO) said.
The Manila PIO said the university and local government officials discussed how UST would observe health and safety protocols in holding face-to-face or in-person classes amid the continued threat of COVID-19.
University officials also prepared contingency plans should students, faculty or staffers develop COVID-19 symptoms, the Manila PIO said.
Domagoso reminded UST officials that students cannot be forced to participate in in-person classes if they refuse to do so.
In the same meeting, Domagoso said teachers would be prioritized in the local government's COVID-19 vaccination drive.
"Teachers will be included in the first batch for the vaccine. Whether you're a Manilan or a non-Manilan, as long as you're working here in Manila, you will be included in the list for vaccine," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved in-person classes for medical courses in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the lowest quarantine level, to ensure that the country would have enough health frontliners.
In-person classes may also be held by higher education institutions in GCQ areas with base hospitals that cater to COVID-19 patients, President Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Since last year, the Commission on Higher Education has been evaluating the capacity of some medical schools to administer in-person classes.