MANILA – Higher education institutions (HEIs) such as colleges and universities are allowed to conduct face-to-face classes in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
This is contained in the omnibus guidelines on the implementation of community quarantines as of June 3 released by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Colleges and universities will only be allowed provided they observe minimum public health standards.
“Limited face-to-face or in-person classes may be conducted in HEIs provided there is strict compliance with minimum public health standards, consultation with local government units, and compliance with guidelines set by CHED (Commission on Higher Education),” the document read.
However, HEI activities that involve mass gathering of students remain prohibited under MGCQ areas.
In areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), the opening of classes will be based on education delivery mode, compliance with minimum health standards and the situation on the ground.
Colleges and universities using full online education can open anytime while those using flexible learning can open anytime in August 2020.
The HEIs using significant face-to-face classes can open not earlier than September 1, 2020 while no in-person classes are allowed until August 21, 2020.
Private colleges and universities are encouraged to change their academic calendar and open in August 2020.
CHED chair Prospero de Vera described flexible learning as more encompassing than online learning, which requires connectivity and full use of technology, particularly the internet.
Flexible learning is a broader term that focuses on the design and delivery of programs, courses, and learning interventions that address learners’ unique needs in terms of pace, place, process and products of learning. It does not necessarily require connectivity.
President Rodrigo Duterte is strongly against holding face-to-face or in-person classes until a vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is developed.
He also appealed to schools to offer staggered or installment payment options for students, recognizing how their parents are “hard-pressed” in finances after losing their livelihoods due to the community quarantine.
The Landbank recently launched its ACADEME or Access to Academic Development to Empower the Masses towards Endless Opportunities lending program to extend credit to private high schools, private technical-vocational education training institutions, colleges and universities in a “study now, pay later” scheme. (ia/PNA)