(Updated as of 9:35 p.m.)
THE FACULTY of Arts and Letters (AB) has suspended synchronous classes this week to ease what it called the “psychological stress” being experienced by students.
No high-stakes assessments shall be conducted from Sept. 22 to 25 and students may submit their graded requirements until Sept 30, according to an AB memorandum issued Monday.
“With the recent memorandum released by the Office of the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, please note that all classes in the Faculty of Arts and Letters from September 22 to 25, 2021 shall be held asynchronously to help the students lessen their psychological stress which makes it difficult for them to focus on their studies,” the memorandum signed by AB Dean Prof. Marilu Madrunio and AB Regent Fr. George Mang read.
The University has implemented at least four academic breaks since last year. Classes were suspended or were limited to asynchronous sessions from Sept. 25 to 30 and from Nov. 16 to 21 last year and from April 5 to 11, 2021.
The encoding of preliminary term grades for intensive courses has also been extended until Sept. 30.
The cancellation of synchronous classes is in line with the University’s two-day academic break implemented from Sept. 20-21.
While the two-day break was criticized by some students for supposedly being too short, it also gained support online.
“For me, this two break is not something that should raise tempers. At least we were given a break, right? If there are problems, I feel they can be addressed through an excuse letter or by talking to the professor. I don’t know why others (are so) pressed and sometimes, they are just petty. It is saddening,” a post written in mixed English and Filipino and published on the UST Freedom Wall read
“Why are so many complaining about the (academic) break? Two days only? At least you have two days. Other schools are not giving (such a break). Just be contented…Instead of wasting your time complaining, just make your two days worthwhile,” another post read.
Prior to the announcement, the Artlets Student Council (ABSC) and Board of Majors (BoM) proposed an “academic ease” to the AB administration, citing the rising number of COVID-19 infections and other concerns including internet connectivity issues.
“Informed with the data that the ABSC has collated through surveys, the council is confident in saying that a more sustainable academic break, which includes the proposed ‘Asynchronous Days,’ will allow Artlets to rest and perform better in their academics,” ABSC and BoM wrote in a petition.
Several members of the Artlet community welcomed the suspension of synchronous classes, saying it would benefit the mental health of students and faculty members. However, others are worried about its possible effect on scheduled class activities.
“My schedule is already disrupted… They could have told us not to (check) attendance or administer graded requirements during synchronous (sessions) instead…Why does it have to be a blanket rule?” a faculty member said. F – Karen Renee S. Nogoy with a report from Kristine Erika L. Agustin