CHED sees colleges closing due to low enrollees

Maris Federez   •   July 16, 2020   •   331

MANILA, Philippines — Several colleges are now on the verge of closing due to the very low number of enrollees for the coming school year, according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

In the press briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte, CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera reported the problem that these college institutions and local governments are facing for the coming school year.

Humihingi po ng guidance yung mga private schools in particular tsaka local governments kasi hindi po nila alam ang gagawin lalo na sa mga area na wala po talagang internet connection [The private schools, in particular, and the local governments are asking for guidance as they do not know what to do, especially in areas where there is no internet connection],” Chairman de Vera said.

Meron na pong ilang eskwelahan ang nagsabi sa CHED na magsasara sila dahil yung enrollment po ay talagang mababa. Natatakot po yung mga magulang at mga estudyante [Several schools already told CHED that they are closing because their enrollment is really low],” he added.

De Vera also admitted that they do not have a ready guideline for these learning institutes that are closing as this is just the first time that the commission has experienced a pandemic.

De Vera, however, reported the commission’s plan to offer the subjects that need personal appearance, such as laboratories, on the job trainings, and internships in January or the second semester of the school year.

Lectures that may be done online, on the other hand, will be offered in the first semester.

“The options will be from the more open limited face to face in low-risk MGCQ areas to the most conservative. Do it sa (in the) second semester,” de Vera said.

Meanwhile, the National Action Plan Against COVID-19 will conduct an inspection in areas that are now under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) for possible limited face-to-face classes.

NTF Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr said they will look into the compliance of schools on the set health protocols.

Galvez said playgrounds will be closed, and buffet setup will not be allowed in school canteen and cafeterias as these areas are believed to be where viruses, such as COVID-19 breed and easily spread.

They will also check on the provision of separate entry and exit points of schools, as well as, a possible limit of 10 students per classroom set-up, in case face to face classes will be allowed.

Yan po ang recommendation ko, Mr.President. If we will really decide na magkaroon tayo ng 10 per classroom, tingnan po natin po yung mga strategies natin na magkakaroon po o makikita natin na mga 96% walang transmission or even 100% na ma-ensure natin na magkakaroon po tayo ng redundant preventive measures para hindi po tayo magkaroon ng transmission,” Galvez said.

[That is my recommendation, Mr. President. If we will decide to have 10 per classroom, let’s look at our strategies to come up with 96% no transmission, r\or even 100%. That we can ensure that we will have redundant preventive measures so that we will no have transmission.]

Secretary Galvez also proposed to the President to have private school students who stay in dormitories to undergo swab testing to check if they are COVID-free or not.—(from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

DOLE urged to craft school workers’ safety protocols before holding face-to-face classes

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2020

Senator Joel Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Wednesday called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to come up with guidelines on workers’ safety protocol for school personnel for the holding of limited face-to-face classes in areas determined to have low risk in the transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources, said DOLE should convene with the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to craft specific occupational standards to ensure the safety and health of teachers and school personnel.

He said these guidelines will help minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools and training facilities that would be allowed to open for students.

“Bago po tuluyang payagan ang mga paaralan at training institutes na magpapasok ng mga estudyante, dapat pong magbalangkas ng mga panuntunan para sa kaligtasan ng mga guro at iba pang empleyado ng mga paaralan at training institutes,” Villanueva said in a statement.

“Sa pagpapatupad ng mga safety protocol sa mga paaralan, gusto po natin bigyan ng kasiguruhan ang mga magulang na ligtas para sa kanilang mga anak ang pumasok sa mga eskwelahan,” he added.

Villanueva made the suggestion after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night greenlighted DepEd’s proposal to allow limited face-to-face classes in low-risk areas. The physical classes will begin in January 2021.

The senator said the prevailing regulation on COVID-19 prevention jointly issued by the labor and trade departments in May might not be enough to cover the nuances of school operations, hence, his suggestion for workers’ safety protocols.

He also cited the law on workers’ safety, formally known as Republic Act No. 11058 or the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSH) Act, which mandates the institution of measures in workplaces to promote the well-being of workers.

The strict observance of OSH standards has drawn more significance in the prevailing pandemic while a vaccine remains to be discovered, Villanueva said.

He also reiterated his appeal to DOLE to resume its labor inspections at workplaces to ensure the strict observance of OSH standards in preventing the spread of the disease.

Face-to-face classes sa low-risk areas, hindi mandatory – DepEd

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nilinaw ng Department of Education na hindi mandatory at hindi maaaring pilitin ang mga estudyante o magulang na papasukin ng pisikal sa eskwelahan ang kanilang mga anak.

Ginawa ng DepEd ang paglilinaw matapos magpahayag ng agam-agam ang marami sa pagpasok sa mga paaralan sa gitna ng pandemya kasunod ng desisyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na payagan ang pagsasagawa ng face-to-face classes sa mga lugar na mababa ang kaso ng coronavirus disease.

Sa panayam sa UNTV program na Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, binigyang-diin ni Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio na hindi compulsory o sapilitan ang pagpapasok sa mga mag-aaral sa face-to-face classes kung nangangamba sila para kanilang kalusugan.

Ani San Antonio, ang limited face-to-face classes ay bahagi lamang ng mga paraan o sistema ng pag-aaral na maaaring pagpilian ng mga magulang at estudyante para sa darating na pasukan.

“Yun pong pinapanindigan natin sa DepEd ay irerespeto po natin yung desisyon ng mga pamilya so kahit po doon sa mga lugar na pinapayagan ang limited face to face. Kung ang mga magulang po o bata mismo ay hindi kumportable at nag-aagam agam na kapag sya ay pupunta sa paaralan ay mae-expose po siya sa COVID-19 papayagan pa rin po sya na maipagpatuloy ang pagaaral gagamitn ang distance learning modality,” sabi ng opisyal.

Muli ring iginiit ni San Antonio na papayagan lamang ang limited face-to-face classes sa isang lugar kung hihilingin ito ng lokal na pamahalaan. Dapat rin aniyang matiyak ang kahandaan ng mga paaralan sa pagpapatupad ng mahigpit na health at safety protocols bago ito pahihintulutan.

Sa ngayon ay isinasapinal pa ang magiging protocol para sa face-to-face classes.

Nilinaw rin ng DepEd na sa Enero 2021 pa ito ipatutupad at dalawang beses lamang sa isang linggo kung gagawin.

Samantala, bagaman opisyal nang natapos ang enrolment period ay patuloy pa ring tatanggap ng enrollees ang mga pampublikong paaralan, ayon sa DepEd. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

Mayor Sara Duterte tells residents to prepare for possible return of Davao City to GCQ

Robie de Guzman   •   July 14, 2020

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has called on residents to prepare for the possible return of the city to the general community quarantine (GCQ), which entails the observance of stricter health and movement restrictions.

Duterte made the call on Monday after receiving advance information from the National Inter-Agency Task Force that the city will be reverted to GCQ on Wednesday, July 15.

Malacañang earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte may be announcing on Wednesday the new quarantine restrictions that will be implemented in various parts of the country after July 15.

Mayor Sara said she will be appealing to the IATF to reconsider the quarantine classification of Davao City which is currently under modified GCQ.

“Kung ma deny gihapon ang appeal nga magpabilin ta og MGCQ, may I request everyone nga duna tay July 2 nga version sa Omnibus Guidelines nga atoa lang i-review, pasadahan nato kung unsa tong GCQ para mahinumdom ta kung unsa atoang kinahanglan buhaton during a GCQ. So maayo nang mangandam ta daan for a status nga GCQ,” she said in an interview over the city-run Davao City Disaster Radio.

(If our appeal to remain under MGCQ is denied, I request everyone to review the July 2 version of our Omnibus guidelines, go over the guidelines under GCQ so we remember what we should do during a GCQ. We should get ready for a GCQ status.)

The latest version of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines issued on July 2, 2020 include limitations of in-dining services to only 30 percent capacity, and prohibiting entertainment establishments like comedy bars and karaoke from operating, as well as mass gatherings with more than 10 people.

Davao City saw a continued rise in coronavirus cases in the past weeks. Based on the latest data from the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), Davao City has 162 active positive cases, the highest number of active cases since the Covid-19 outbreak started in March this year. The number of recoveries is at 382 and 35 deaths.

Given the still increasing cases and in the absence of anti-coronavirus disease vaccine, the public is reminded to stay at home except when buying food and medicine; wash hands frequently, social distancing, and wear masks whenever they go out of their homes.

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