MANILA — The Commission on Higher Education said on Friday it would study if face-to-face classes would be possible for all programs in areas with low COVID-19 risk by January.
This plan is not yet doable for now because only 27 percent of college students nationwide are vaccinated, said CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera III.
"Titingnan natin kung anong kalagayan on the ground by January, kung puwede na ito," he said in a televised public briefing.
(Let us see what the situation on the ground is by January, if this will be possible.)
Aside from facing low COVID-19 risk, areas where these classes would be rolled out should also have a high vaccination rate, sufficient public transportation, and the go signal of local governments in charge of contact-tracing, De Vera said.
"Kung hindi kumbinsido at hindi natin kasama ang local government sa pagpaplano, mahirap hong agad-agad buksan ang mga pamantasan," said the official.
(If local governments are not convinced and they are not part of the planning, it will be difficult to open universities immediately.)
CHED aims to finish the guidelines in November or December, he added.
Video courtesy of PTV
Government last January approved face-to-face classes for medical courses. Less than 1 percent of students caught COVID-19, De Vera said. None of the students or staff died or were hospitalized, he added.
Around 71 percent of faculty and personnel have been vaccinated nationwide, said the CHED chairman.
"Ang ating assessment ay maganda ang pagkaka-implement ng guidelines para sa medical and allied health colleges," he said.
(Our assessment is the implementation of guidelines for medical and allied health colleges was good.)
He said this was why President Rodrigo Duterte in September allowed more in-person classes for more programs, including maritime schools, engineering and technology, and tourism and travel management.
Some universities have started retrofitting facilities and applied to be included in the next batch of face-to-face classes, De Vera said.
"Siguro in 1 to 2 weeks, makikita natin kung ilan ang nag-apply, ilan ang mai-inspect," he said.
(Perhaps in 1 to 2 weeks, we will see how many applied and would be inspected.)