A TOP university in Davao City is implementing a "No vax card, No negative antigen results, No entry" policy.

The University of Mindanao (UM) issued a reminder on the policy on August 15, 2022 through its official Facebook account. The vaccination policy is part of the school’s “Plenary Guidelines on the conduct of blended F2F classes starting SY 2022-2023.” The guidelines were posted on the official Facebook page of the UM Office of Student Affairs (OSA) on August 3, 2022. A copy of the memo can be downloaded from their Facebook page.

"In compliance with CHED (Commission on Higher Education), DOH (Department of Health), and IATF (Inter-agency Task Force) guidelines as well as MORPHE for private schools, students with vax cards or negative antigen results (for unvaccinated students) shall be allowed to enter UM campuses to ensure health and safety inside the school premises," OSA said in a statement on August 15, 2022.

The unvaccinated students shall bear the cost of weekly antigen testing from any authorized testing center.

“The JMC No. 2021-004 ang guidelines right now na ginagamit ng mga (is the guideline used by) schools to conduct their F2F (face-to-face) classes. That JMC allows all schools, all programs to proceed with F2F classes as long as the participants of the F2F classes are fully vaccinated,” Supervising Education Program Specialist Christopher Pulido told SunStar Davao on August 15, 2022.

The Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-004 by CHED and the Department of Health (DOH) states that only fully vaccinated students, teaching and non-teaching personnel in areas under Alert Level 1, 2, and 3 are allowed to join the conduct of F2F classes.

Aside from UM, the Holy Cross of Davao College is also implementing a similar policy for unvaccinated students and staff, according to vice president for academics Teresa Fabiana.

“(During the exams), it’s the same. Only those allowed to take the exams on site are vaccinated and who have antigen tests,” Fabiana said during a previous interview with SunStar Davao.

Pulido pointed out that schools allowing unvaccinated students to join F2F activities would be accountable for any incident that would take place in their respective campuses.

“Ang policy ng Ched, the school would not be reliable if they adhere to the guidelines but if there is some deviation from the guidelines of Ched, it is the school who will be reliable for that,” he said.

Pulido added, “In Ched’s perspective, dapat hindi (they should not join) ang unvaccinated. There is a place for them and that is flexible learning... But schools in the region would usually point to the local government units as the entity that would allow the unvaccinated students to join.”

Because of this, some netizens expressed concern over the policy being implemented, with some saying they are not recommended to get vaccinated because of an existing health condition.

Others say they do not have the money to spend frequently on antigen tests.

“Mag drop ug add lang man unta ko ug subject ganina, wa jud tawon ko kasulod kay P350 ang antigen. Niuli nalang ko kay wa ko'y ikabayad (I was supposed to process some subjects but I was not allowed inside because I do not have an antigen test worth P350. I went home because I had no money to pay for it),” one netizen commented.

Pulido emphasized that vaccination is not mandated but he encourages unvaccinated students and staff to get their doses against Covid-19 so that it would be easier for them to adhere to school policies.

He also pointed out that unvaccinated students may instead opt to join the flexible learning setup of their schools.

“With our existing policies, they are actually not left out,” he said.

As of the latest data from Ched-Davao, there are 37 HEIs authorized to conduct F2F classes out of 105 HEI in Davao Region.

Pulido said that it is possible not all of the 37 schools will conduct full F2F classes as some of the institutions still have blended or flexible learning setups. ICM