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UST resumes preps for expanded limited face-to-face classes

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EXPANDING limited in-person classes remains an option for the University as it resumed its preparations for face-to-face learning after a two-week work suspension caused by a surge in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.

“We continue with our preparations now that work has resumed at the University,” UST Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Cheryl Peralta told The Flame.

“Our academic units likewise prepare the documentary requirements and conduct an ongoing risk assessment which takes into consideration the health status of the University staff and students who will participate in the (limited face-to-face classes),” she added. 

Peralta could not say when the expanded limited face-to-face classes would start and what programs are ready to submit the required documents as preparations are still underway. 

“We hope to do this as the situation allows,” she said.

Peralta said the preparations for the expanded limited face-to-classes were held back by the resurgence of COVID-19 infections. She noted that while the University Crisis Management Committee had initially approved the proposal of academic programs to reopen the campus to face-to-face classes, their submission is dependent on the complete retrofitting of identified facilities and the receipt of the written approval of the Manila local government, among other requirements. 

The Commission on Higher Education has allowed degree programs in Alert Level 3 areas, including Metro Manila, to conduct limited face-to-face learning starting on Jan. 31. Under Alert Level 3, limited in-person classes in the college level are allowed but only fully vaccinated persons can participate, and only up to 30 percent of indoor venues and 50 percent of outdoor may be filled up.

Last Monday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government’s pandemic task force would meet this week to discuss if Metro Manila can be downgraded to the more lenient Alert Level 2 because of a slower COVID-19 growth rate. 

If the capital region’s classification is relaxed to Alert Level 2, the allowed operational capacities for indoor venues would be 50 percent while that of outdoor venues would be 70 percent.  F  – Nillicent Bautista 

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