CHED’s advisory on limited in-person classes in HEIs under Alert Level 3 raises eyebrows

January 12, 2022 - 12:32 PM
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Image by Wokandapix via Pixabay

The Commission on Higher Education drew criticisms online over its decision to push through with the limited face-to-face classes on all programs in areas under Alert Level 3 amid the COVID-19 surge this month.

In an advisory dated January 10 signed by CHED chair Prospero De Vera III, CHED announced that the limited face-to-face classes  for all programs in areas under Alert Level 3 will start on Jan. 31, 2022.

Metro Manila and other provinces are currently placed under this alert level status until January 15.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) located in Alert Level 2, on the other hand can proceed implementing face-to-face classes at anytime.

CHED said that HEIs that intend to limitedly reopen classes must also be responsible for the safe return of students, teachers and other stakeholders.

“HEIs intending to hold limited face-to-face classes during the COVID-19 pandemic must be willing to assume the responsibilities for the reopening of their campuses based on their capability to comply with the health and safety protocols, to retrofit their facilities, and to get the support of their stakeholders,” CHED said.

“The HEI must also notify the concerned CHED Regional Office (RO) through the submission of the accomplished self-assessment checklist notarized affidavit of undertaking prior to the start date of the limited face-to-face classes,” it added.

Criticisms vs CHED’s advisory

Some social media users immediately denounced CHED for allowing the resumption of classes despite the increasing daily tally of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“Don’t get me wrong, I am for reopening of classes but it’s imperative that it is SAFE for everyone. Without comprehensive policies from CHED, this will undoubtedly fail,” a Twitter user said.

“We are all for reopening f2f classes but doing so in the middle of a COVID surge does not click, CHED. anuna????? Di na lang nag-iisip, implement na lang agad?” another online user also said.

“I don’t understand the logic between CHED’s decision when the country is facing another surge of COVID cases, also given the fact that the omicron variant is present here in our country, there’s even no mass testing from this government? How can they guarantee our safety?” another online user tweeted.

Others questioned CHED on why it did not reopen classes during the downtrend of COVID-19 cases last year.

“Mababa yung cases per day nung mga nakaraang lingo, CHED: y’all stay at home. Mataas cases ngayon, CHED: y’all it’s time to go back to school,” a Twitter user said.

Some online users expressed their ire at CHED through witty remarks and memes.

“So, survival of the fittest na ganern?” one user said.

“Survivor Philippines (College Edition),” another user added.

CHED’s guidelines to resume onsite learning

There are two phases on CHED’s plan to resume onsite learning among HEIs amid the still prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

These were stated in a joint memorandum between the commission and the Department of Health where the latest guidelines for the schools were also listed.

The implementation of phase 1 already started last December 2021.

It covered all HEIs in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2.

Phase 2 covered areas under Alert Level 3 to be conducted January 2022 and onwards.

Under the guidelines, it was stated that the conduct of traditional learning is not mandatory.

“The conduct of limited face-to-face classes is within the discretion of HEIs. HEIs who prefer not to conduct limited face-to-face classes shall continue to implement flexible learning under CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. O4 series of 2020,” it said.