TWO higher education institutions (HEIs) in Cebu are gearing up for the limited face-to-face (F2F) classes as they await further guidelines from the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) for additional degree programs.
These schools are University of San Carlos (USC) and Southwestern University PHINMA.
Last month, the government allowed limited face-to-face classes for five more college degree programs that require hands-on experience—engineering and technology programs, hospitality/hotel and restaurant management, tourism/travel management, marine engineering and marine transportation.
Since January 2021, the Ched has been allowing medical and other allied health courses to conduct limited face-to-face classes.
The graduating nursing students of USC are now taking classes on campus, and they are housed in the school’s dormitory, said USC president Fr. Narciso A. Cellan Jr.
Cellan said they are waiting for guidelines for the other degrees.
“None yet so far (on other degrees). Some weeks ago, we received a memo from Ched for possible F2F classes of engineering and science students, but Ched has yet to call for a meeting with HEIs,” he said.
USC, Cellan said, will always be guided by the policies and directives of the Ched, the Department of Education (DepEd), Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and local government units.
Dr. Gerard Lee Lo See, dean of USC School of Health Care Professions (SHCP), said they are not apprehensive to allow students back in their facilities.
“USC SHCP is confident that the efforts of the faculty and students are aligned with policies to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment,” he said.
He said precautionary measures have been observed prior to the commencement of classes.
Faculty and students have undergone reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR tests and only those who tested negative were allowed to participate in the on-campus classes and duties.
As agreed with their stakeholders, safety is top priority, See added.
“We have decided to take the prudent measure of having the students be fully vaccinated prior to returning to class. Similarly, our partners for clinical immersion require the same,” he said.
There are 49 graduating nursing students housed in the USC Talamban Campus’ dormitory. Students are ferried to and from the clinical immersion sites. Students and faculty were already fully vaccinated and they underwent routine testing.
USC’s Department of Pharmacy is now in the planning stage because the Ched memorandum order for Pharmacy Experiential Learning has been released.
Pharmacy has been added to the list of programs eligible for limited F2F.