CHED eyes allowing in-person classes in areas w/ low COVID cases, high vaccination rate

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 11 2021 02:16 PM | Updated as of Oct 11 2021 02:31 PM

Commission on Higher Education headquarters in Quezon City. ABS-CBN News/File
Commission on Higher Education headquarters in Quezon City. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is studying the possibility of allowing limited in-person classes for all degree programs in areas with low COVID-19 cases and high vaccination rates, Chairman Prospero de Vera said Monday.

"Kung papayag ang local government, kung mataas ang vaccination rate sa area [at] mababa naman ang classificaiton as far as COVID is concerned, baka papayagan na natin sa mga susunod na buwan ang mga eskuwelahan na magli-limited face-to-face [classes] in all of their degree programs," De Vera said at a Palace briefing.

(If the local government will allow it, if the area has a high vaccination rate and has a low classification as far as COVID is concerned, we may allow the schools to hold limited face-to-face classes in all of their degree programs in the coming months.)

De Vera said some universities already have high vaccination rates among their personnel and students, such as the Mariano Marcos State University in Ilocos Norte, which has inoculated 91 percent of its faculty and 97 percent of students attending in-person classes.

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He said 73 percent of higher education personnel from 1,488 universities and colleges have been vaccinated against COVID-19, based on an Oct. 6 report.

"So malapit na tayo doon sa percentage na kailangan para maging ligtas talaga sila," De Vera said, though he did not mention the target percentage.

(We're nearing the percentage that's needed to protect higher education personnel.)

De Vera noted that higher education institutions (HEIs) "far from Metro Manila" are usually the ones with low vaccination rates, citing Aklan State University and Palawan state University.

The CHED has ordered these HEIs to coordinate with their respective local government units to raise vaccination rates once more vaccines arrive in their localities, De Vera said.

The commission is also holding a "vaccination caravan," which visits HEIs to inoculate personnel and students.

"This is to highlight the urgency of vaccination and encourage all education personnel, faculty, administrators and students to immediately get vaccinated," De Vera said.

Currently, more than 30 degree programs are allowed to hold limited in-person classes, De Vera said.

These include programs related to medicine, allied health sciences, engineering and technology, hotel and restaurant management, tourism and travel management, and marine engineering and transportation.

Since last year, universities and colleges have been implementing remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.