MANILA - Although vaccination against COVID-19 is not a requirement for the conduct of limited face-to-face classes, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) looks at this as an "additional level of safety that will facilitate" it.
In a press conference Thursday, CHED Chairman Prospero "Popoy" De Vera said this is one of their observations on the higher education institutions (HEIs) that have been allowed to conduct limited in-person classes.
"Kasi iyong first batch, kahit na hindi required iyong vaccination para mag-limited face-to-face, ang nangyari, nabakunahan iyong mga estudyante at teacher because they were classified as frontline healthworkers," said De Vera.
"So in this next batch, we are hoping that the vaccination rollout will be faster so we will add another level of safety at the school level."
As of June 21, the commission has approved the conduct of limited face-to-face classes for medicine and allied courses in 93 HEIs nationwide.
De Vera said they are still collating data from these schools, but preliminary data show there were no COVID transmissions at the University of the Philippines-Manila and Our Lady of Fatima University in Valenzuela.
Transmissions have been recorded in some regions, so face-to-face classes were suspended until the school is cleared by the CHED regional office and the local government to resume.
If data show that the first batch of students and personnel from medicine and allied courses were able to conduct safe limited face-to-face classes, De Vera will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the expansion of in-person classes to include other courses.
"The next set of programs that we are targeting will include Engineering, Information Technology, maritime, Industrial Tech, maybe VetMed (Veterinary Medicine), HRM," said De Vera.
The official added HEIs are already crafting degree-specific guidelines and learning plans so that, once approved, they may fast track preparations and conduct in-person classes.
"While we are waiting for the data to be complete, the different degree programs have started writing the guidelines for their degrees already. Even in HRM, the technical panel on HRM has just concluded a Zoom session with stakeholders. They did a survey to determine. So iyong individual degrees, the experts, the deans of the school, of the colleges, the technical panel are enumerating ano iyong mga subject na papayagang mag-limited face-to-face, ano iyong schedule."