DUE to the increasing number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in Bacolod City, the University of St. La Salle (USLS) has declared a temporary "health break," while University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) has suspended its limited laboratory face-to-face (F2F) classes.

USLS, in a statement, said the move is also in consideration for the mental health of their partners who may be sick, or who are caring for household members, while at the same time providing educational services.

The institution said that offices handling student's enrollment and registration will continue operating as these processes can be done remotely or by permission on-campus as recommended by their respective unit heads.

With the declaration of a health break, there will be no required synchronous or real-time class sessions but learning activities may be continued asynchronously using the school's learning management system, it added.

USLS' health services office will also continue to provide online assistance for medical and health concerns while on-campus transactions will resume on February 2.

For it's part, UNO-R temporarily halted the in-person limited laboratory classes for its nursing and medical courses effective January 15 after Bacolod City has been placed under Alert Level 3 in terms of Covid-19 transmission.

Carlos Legazpi, UNO-R external affairs director, said the initial meeting for the F2F laboratory classes was on January 6, while the orientation was on January 12.

UNO-R will resume with their F2F classes once the alert level has been lowered down, Legazpi said.

The university is also planning to hold limited F2F laboratory classes for Hospitality Management (HM) and engineering courses, he added.

Meanwhile, STI-West Negros University (WNU) is not going to declare a temporary "health break" since it is already the start of their semestral break, its Executive Vice President Mark Molina told SunStar Bacolod.

STI-WNU is set to hold limited F2F laboratory classes for their HM and Information Technology courses when the second semester starts, Molina said.

Aside from these schools, Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod (CSA-B) has also started the holding of laboratory F2F classes last year.

'Be part of solution'

The Philippine Association of Medical Technologists Inc. (Pamet)-Negros Occidental Chapter appealed to the public to be part of the solution in stopping the further spread of Covid-19 as they warn that the healthcare systems may collapse when there are no more health workers left standing.

In a statement, the group of medical technologists in the province said that amid the threat of the Omicron variant of Sars-Cov-2 that causes Covid-19, they are here to keep everyone safe throughout this health crisis.

"Our colleagues in the profession are now asking everyone to be more responsible for your actions that can help curb this pandemic," they said, adding that they are appealing for public vigilance.

They said that everybody should be vaccinated against Covid-19 and keep practicing minimum health protocols through social distancing and wearing of face masks.

Pamet members reminded the public that health workers are also riding public transportation and they are saddened by the seemingly rampant disregard in following minimum health protocols.

"We hope that our government shall never tire in continuing their massive public dissemination and policing activities to apprehend violators and that they implement stronger restrictions," they stressed.