CHED lifts COVID-19 vaccine requirement for in-person classes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 29 2022 03:12 PM | Updated as of Aug 29 2022 05:27 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — COVID-19 vaccination is no longer a requirement for students and personnel attending in-person classes in colleges and universities, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said Monday.

In a press conference, CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera said the commission decided to lift the vaccine requirement following consultations with health experts and assessments of the COVID-19 situation in the country.

"Students and HEI (higher education institution) personnel regardless of vaccination status can now participate in face-to-face classes," De Vera said.

"Looking at November 2021 and today, so much has changed. Vaccination rates have gone up... In many other countries, health and education authorities have started to take back the requirement for vaccination ... because the risk is now easier to control," he added.

Last year, CHED ordered that only fully vaccinated students and personnel can join in-person classes.

The commission reported that over 3.1 million or 77 percent of college students have been either partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, 260,661 or 90% of HEI personnel received partial or full COVID vaccine.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante said students' age group was not at high risk of developing severe COVID.

"But just the same, when they’re in school, they have to be careful, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated," he said.

CHED is set to issue a circular reflecting the new policy, which will be sent to the inter-agency task force leading the country's pandemic response.

The commission urged HEIs to continue following minimum health protocols and hold another round of school-based COVID-19 vaccination.

In-person classes were banned in early 2020 due to COVID-19, forcing Philippine schools to shift to remote learning. Colleges and universities have gradually resumed the traditional classroom setup since last year.

De Vera earlier said it was up to higher education institutions to decide if they want to bring back in-person classes at full capacity or continue implementing remote or blended learning.

— Report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News