AT LEAST 39 out of 181 higher education institutions (HEIs) in Central Visayas have applied before the Commission on Higher Education in Central Visayas (Ched 7) for permission to conduct limited face-to-face (F2F) classes.

Dr. Johnny Yao, Ched 7’s alternate focal person for limited face-to-face classes, said they are still accepting more applications for limited F2F classes from interested HEIs across the region.

Yao said they only required the interested HEIs to comply with some requirements which includes a clearance from the local government unit (LGU) where the school is located.

The LGU’s clearance is necessary as Ched wants the local leaders to ensure that the quality of education and the safety of students are observed especially that the country is still in the midst of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Yao also urged HEIs to comply with the assessment checklist they have provided to ensure that health and safety protocols are observed if they want to implement limited F2F classes.

He said they are giving the HEIs the option to implement limited F2F classes for some courses as mandated by Ched Joint Memorandum Circular series of 2021.

Yao explained that they are giving this option to HEIs as a way to balance the school’s duty to provide quality education but at the same time, protecting the health of their students and faculty members.

Students weigh in

Some students from different colleges and universities in Cebu City were in favor of Mayor Michael Rama’s plan to allow F2F classes.

Michelle Cabajar, a third-year psychology major from the University of San Jose-Recoletos, told SunStar Cebu that she favored a return of F2F classes as students often suffer “learning gaps” during online classes.

Cabajar added that students who have unreliable internet connection or no access to internet cannot benefit from online learning.

Like Cabajar, Marie Alexandra Mongoni, a nursing student of the University of the Visayas, agreed to allow F2F classes’ return as online classes often limit students to their exposure to real-world situations.

But Mongoni said schools that want F2F classes back must observe health protocols in order to protect their students from Covid-19.

F2F not cost-effective

But students Analiza Montehermoso and Arion Dave Piamonte preferred online classes because these are not only cost-effective but safe for students who are still afraid of getting sick of Covid-19.

Montehermoso, a business administration student of the University of Cebu, said that online classes not only allow her parents to save money from spending for her transportation allowances but also assure her that she is not expose to Covid-19.

Piamonte, a mechanical engineering student at the Cebu Institute of Technology University, supported Rama’s plan but he lamented that F2F classes could also mean additional spending for students like him.

“Nalipay, tas may kaguol sad. Nalipay kay mabalik na ang face-to-face class ug dagdag learnings pud kanato apan naguol kay dugang napud gastoan unya kahibaw na ka sa panahon karon lisod jud,” Piamonte added. (PAC / JKV / Irish Delima & Ryan Megabon, CNU Interns)