While full seating capacity in universities has been allowed in areas under Alert Level 1, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said school administrators have the discretion to limit the volume of students attending in-person classes.
The Inter-Agency Task Force, through Resolution No. 164, allowed fully vaccinated students and teachers to attend limited face-to-face classes for higher educational institutions (HEIs) in areas under Alert Level 1.
“[K]ahit na 100 percent ang allowed na capacity, kung sa palagay ng mga pamantasan ay mas maganda ‘yung sistema na mas konti ‘yung papapasukin at gagawing salit-salit ang klase, pinapa-ubaya natin ‘yan sa mga pamantasan na sila ang gagawa nito dahil sila ang nakakaalam sa kalagayan sa kanilang mga lugar (Even if they’ve been allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity, if the university thinks that it would be better to limit the number of students then we leave the decision to them),” CHED chair Prospero de Vera III said in a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday.
He said unvaccinated students may also continue attending classes but in a virtual setting as CHED maintains the flexible learning policy, with HEIs deciding on face-to-face, online or mixed methods.
For in-person classes, HEIs no longer need to secure authorization from CHED but must take the self-assessment checklist to ensure their readiness.
Among the items on the list are the establishment of a crisis management committee, contact tracing and quarantine protocols, and engineering controls for physical distancing and adequate ventilation.
De Vera said the schools may consult with CHED or their local governments for technical assistance in Covid-proofing their facilities.
“Tingnan ‘yung guidelines, ‘yung listahan at mag-comply doon at mag-konsulta rin sa kanilang local government dahil hindi naman lahat ng lugar sa Pilipinas ay Alert Level 1 (Check the guidelines and the list. They should also consult with their local government because not all areas in the Philippines are under Alert Level 1),” he said.
More than 300 universities have reopened for face-to-face classes last year but some were forced to retreat when cases ballooned in January 2022.
With the easing of restrictions, De Vera expects the number to climb in the first semester of Academic Year 2022-2023. (PNA)