MANILA (UPDATE) — The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said Tuesday it was working with the Department of Health to craft guidelines on the conduct of "limited" face-to-face classes in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera said both agencies were aiming to present by the end of June the guidelines to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
"The guidelines would be detailed guidelines on spacing of seats, what to do in the cafeteria, protocols for students and faculty coming in, what happens if someone is sick," he said at the virtual launch of the PHL CHED Connect online portal.
Limited face-to-face classes is one of the components of flexible learning, the delivery mode which CHED is encouraging colleges and universities to adopt, said De Vera.
Flexible learning also makes use of online platforms and take-home exercises, among others.
"In some areas, you will see a combination of online and limited face-to-face... depending on the health situation on the ground," said De Vera.
De Vera stressed that colleges and universities in MGCQ areas must first comply with health protocols and CHED guidelines, and consult with local government units before holding limited face-to-face classes.
"Our regional offices will help monitor what is happening on the ground," he said.
De Vera said a "pilot testing" in schools would be held in July.
On Wednesday, he clarified that once the IATF aporoves the guidelines, he would visit colleges and universities that would redesign their facilities based on the regulations to see if limited face-to-face classes were doable.
The CHED chief earlier said the commission was studying the possibility of allowing in-person classes in areas where there are no COVID-19 cases.
Face-to-face or in-person classes have been discouraged to avoid exposing students, teachers and school personnel to the risk of contracting COVID-19, which has infected 30,000 in the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly said he would not allow the resumption of in-person classes in the country unless a vaccine against the respiratory illness is available.
Colleges and universities will start their school year depending on their learning delivery mode, the CHED earlier said.
Last Saturday, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said colleges and universities under MGCQ are allowed to hold mass gatherings as long as the number of participants was limited.