by: KRISTINE ERIKA L. AGUSTIN
THE FACULTY of Arts and Letters (AB) will resume its synchronous and asynchronous classes on Monday, Nov. 16 while assessments and submissions will start on Friday, Nov. 20, as the University seeks to address the concerns and situations of students affected by the pandemic and the recent typhoons, according to its released memorandum.
The memorandum issued by the Office of the Dean dated Nov. 14 acknowledged the challenges faced by the faculty and students to comply with the demands of online classes, but the Faculty has seen the need to continue to provide quality education.
“While the University and the different academic units attend to the concerns of the students residing in areas badly hit by the typhoons, we also recognize that it is also important to continue to provide quality education to our students who have technical means and sustained positive dispositions to be engaged in the learning process,” the memorandum read.
The Faculty requires that synchronous sessions be recorded to give access to the students who are unable to attend the classes and student attendance be only for monitoring purposes.
Asynchronous sessions or alternative forms of academic engagement shall be provided for the academic staff who cannot manage to attend synchronous classes. If the academic engagements will require output, the memorandum stated that the academic staff and students will decide on the submission dates “that work best for both of them.”
The Faculty encourages students who are unable to attend synchronous and asynchronous classes for the first term of the current academic year due to super typhoon Rolly, typhoon Ulysses, and other valid reasons to communicate with the office and discuss how they can cope with their requirements.
The Faculty also called for the assistance of the department chairs, academic staff, and class presidents to reach out to students who are still inactive.
“We might not have the exact figures yet, but we are cognizant that there are AB faculty members and students adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the most recent typhoons. Despite this, we are certain that the faith and resilience of the Faculty and Letter community remains unfaltering,” the memorandum read.
Criticisms vs memo
Meanwhile, the UST-League of Filipino Students (LFS) has called for an academic break and has criticized the move to resume classes with just a short time provided for the students and faculty members to recover from the recent disasters.
“In these trying times, we have to show more compassion to our constituents! UST, suspend synchronous and asynchronous classes! Academic Break NOW!” the student group wrote in its Twitter account.
The UST-LFS also urged the students to sign the “4-Point Thomasian Demands: Prompt & effective medical actions to ensure safe back-to-school” petition via Change.org.
Prof. Jove Jim Aguas of the Department of Philosophy also asked the University to extend the suspension of classes for members of the Faculty to have enough time to regain their normal state.
“Mahirap isipin ang aming mga obligasyon bilang guro sa panahon na kailangan muna naming maglinis at mag-ayos ng bahay. Baha pa sa maraming lugar. Wala rin kuryente at internet ang karamihan sa amin,” he said in a Facebook post.
Artlets have also initiated a rally on social media by changing their Facebook profile picture frames with the hashtags #CompassionForThomasians and #AcademicFreezeNOW together with the Artlets Student Council’s letter of response.
The memorandum was sent to The Flame by an anonymous source since the e-mail from the AB Office asked the students to refrain from posting it on social media platforms. F