CHEd eyes in-person classes in more colleges | Inquirer News
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CHEd eyes in-person classes in more colleges

/ 04:55 AM October 12, 2021
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MANILA, Philippines — Colleges in areas with a high vaccination rate and low number of COVID-19 cases may soon be allowed to welcome students back to campus regardless of their courses.

Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Chair Prospero de Vera said on Monday that his office was studying the possibility of allowing limited in-person classes in all degree programs in areas with very low COVID-19 prevalence and a very high vaccination rate.

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“If the local government will agree, if there is a high vaccination rate in the area and their classification as far as COVID-19 is concerned is low, maybe in the next few months we could allow schools to hold limited [in-person classes] in all their degree programs as long as they abide by the guidelines and they are inspected,” De Vera said in a Palace briefing.

30 degree programs

Limited in-person classes are already allowed for specific degree programs, he said.

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This means there would be two kinds of limited in-person classes: by degree program and by geographic area.

Limited in-person classes were first allowed in January for students taking up medicine and allied health sciences.

Last month, the President allowed the expansion of in-person classes to more degree programs, particularly engineering and technology programs, hospitality and hotel and restaurant management, tourism and travel management, marine engineering and marine transportation.

More than 30 degree programs are now allowed to hold in-person classes, de Vera said.

He said schools had started to apply for inspection so they could begin opening their classrooms to students.

He also said some 21,000 college students and more than 1,000 faculty members had been allowed back to the classrooms so far for limited in-person classes.

Low infection rate

None of them had fallen seriously ill from COVID-19.

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“The good news is that in the past months, the infection rate has been low. Less than 1 percent for students and 1.41 percent for faculty in [in-person classes] were infected with COVID-19. They were all asymptomatic. Nobody died and nobody was hospitalized among them,” he said.

This means the CHEd and Department of Health guidelines were able to protect students and faculty members, he said.

He also said many universities holding in-person classes had a high vaccination rate because their faculty and students were among those considered priority in the mass immunization program.

The vaccination rate is lower in areas far from Metro Manila and have a limited supply of vaccines, he said.

De Vera also said the CHEd would hold its own vaccination caravan in different parts of the country to inoculate more college students, including student-athletes.

“This is to highlight the urgency of vaccination and encourage all education personnel, faculty, administrators and students to immediately get vaccinated,” he said. INQ

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TAGS: Ched, colleges, COVID-19, face-to-face classes, Vaccination
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