UP Visayas students, employees demand clear guidelines on COVID-19 outbreak
ILOILO CITY –– Students and academic employees of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) have demanded clear protocols from the UPV administration on the COVID-19 outbreak after a student was confined for exhibiting flu-like symptoms after attending a conference in Manila.
But the UPV administration said they were still waiting for results on tests conducted on the student and belied rumors that the student was a confirmed COVID-19 case.
Sixty other students, who attended the conference, have been placed under self-quarantine.
The UPV administration released a two-page guideline and protocol at 12:26 p.m. on Friday.
These included reminders and measures on the holding of activities, travels, classes in classrooms, personal hygiene, and thermal scanning in all entrances of the campus and buildings.
The UPV University Student Council and the Iloilo chapter of the All-UP Academic Employees Union (AUPEU) have demanded that the administration release a comprehensive protocol on dealing with the pandemic, especially for students residing in the campuses.
“We demand that immediate measures be taken to address the health concerns of students with suspected cases. We also urge that all avenues be maximized to conduct contact tracing and health information to battle the spread of misinformation in our community. We also suggest that heightened measures be taken to ensure proper hygiene and sanitation in our university such as maintaining adequate supply and access clean water, hand soap, and alcohol in high-frequency areas,” the UPV USC said in an open letter to UPV Chancellor Ricardo Babaran.
Adrian Camposagrado, UPV USC chair, said the administration had released advisories, including precautionary measures but had yet to release protocols in addressing suspected cases.
The female student from the main campus in Miag-ao town in Iloilo has been confined at a hospital in Iloilo City after experiencing a sore throat, occasional coughing, and nasal congestion.
The student went to the UPV infirmary on Tuesday and was referred to the hospital in Iloilo City.
Babaran said in a statement that the student was being monitored as her medical test results were still unavailable.
“There is no truth to the rumor that the student is already infected. As soon as the test results come out, we will duly notify the community and the public,” he said.
“The other students who have been in contact with her throughout and during their attendance at the conference are now also being monitored and given advice that they will be put in isolation and self-quarantine,” Babaran said.
Dr. Jane Juanico, head of the Infectious Disease Section of the Department of Health in Western Visayas, said the student was not among the Persons Under Investigation (PUIs).
The PUI are those exhibiting flu-like symptoms who have traveled to areas with COVID-19 travel restrictions for the past 14 days or those with symptoms and had exposure to a confirmed infected person.
Out of the 43 PUIs in the region, 42 tested negative for COVID-19. The result of one patient has not been released.
Biology and public health students attended the 7th Philippine Conference on Community Health at UP Manila on March 7 to 8.
Camposagrado said that as a precautionary measure, roommates of the students in dormitories transferred to other rooms when those who attended the conference returned to the campus.
Anna Razel Limoso-Ramirez, director of UPV’s Information and Publications Office, said the 60 students would be transferred by today, March 13, to a newly constructed and unoccupied dormitory in the campus.
Most students at the Miag-ao campus are from areas outside of Iloilo, and around 300 live in UPV dormitories.
Early Sol Gadong, AUPAEU-Iloilo president, said many UPV constituents have raised questions on how to deal with possible scenarios in the campus related to COVID-19.
These include provision for food and other needs for those who would go on self-quarantine on campus and guidelines for teachers who have students exhibiting symptoms of the disease./lzb
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