by MATTHEW DAVE A. JUCOM and NILLICENT B. BAUTISTA
(UPDATED AS OF 9:00 P.M.)
COMMUNICATION AND Journalism programs would be prioritized once the government allows the resumption of face-to-face classes in the University, Faculty of Arts and Letters Dean Marilu Madrunio said.
“If the government approves the resumption of face-to-face classes, our priority would be the Communication and Journalism programs since there are courses in higher years in those programs that require face-to-face interactions,” Madrunio told The Flame.
“Please note that our priority would be the higher years for Communication and Journalism only,” she added.
The Commission on Higher Education has allowed the resumption of limited in-person classes in areas under Alert Level 2, including Metro Manila, as the COVID-19 situation in the country improves. A school can conduct in-person classes if it secures the approval of the local government unit and if its faculty members and students are fully vaccinated.
‘Safe return should be prioritized’
Organizations representing communication and journalism students welcomed the development but called for sufficient safeguards against the pandemic.
“We happily accept AB prioritizing our program for the resumption of face-to-face classes, but we still emphasize the prioritization of our students’ safety and welfare for a safe resumption of classes,” Communication Arts Students’ Association president Martin Alcantara told The Flame.
“Despite this, we still have some concerns that need addressing: Will students outside of NCR (National Capital Region) be required to go back to Manila for class? Do all students need to be fully vaccinated before entering campus? How many students will be allowed inside each room?” he added.
UST Journalism Society (JournSoc) president Marymon Frances Reyes said she is worried about a possible surge in COVID-19 infections, noting that mobility restrictions in Metro Manila do not guarantee safety from the virus.
“We also need to check the safety of our students, [whether] all students are fully vaccinated or there are still some who have [not availed of their second dose]. Do some opt not to be inoculated because they have a comorbidity or other reasons that would hinder them from being vaccinated? Those are among the few concerns that are very crucial for this one,” she added.
Reyes said the JournSoc is ready to coordinate with university administrators in creating guidelines for the possible resumption of in-person classes. F