by MATTHEW DAVE JUCOM
THE SUSPENSION of classes and office work has been extended until April 11 due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, the University announced Monday afternoon.
The suspension was made to allow the stakeholders “to focus on their health and family concerns” as the COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the advisory read.
The University of Santo Tomas Faculty Union (USTFU) urged the UST administration to declare an academic freeze until Sunday in line with the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) within Metro Manila and nearby provinces (NCR Plus bubble).
The said academic freeze would enable the students and faculty members to adjust to the extended ECQ and give them the “much-needed mental and emotional relief from the stress and anxiety” brought by the pandemic, USTFU President Emerito Gonzales said in a letter.
“[T]he number of COVID-19 cases is not only increasing in number but is now turning into names of people who are very familiar and dear to us — our friends, family members, and colleagues in UST including our students,” Gonzales said.
Meanwhile, Central Student Council Interim President Robert Dominic Gonzales urged the Thomasian community to take this temporary break as an opportunity to ask for necessary help if needed and to regain their well-being.
“To those who are privileged enough to help, please do extend your helping hands,” Gonzales said in a Facebook post.
Malacanang Spokesperson Harry Roque announced on Saturday the week-long extension of ECQ within the NCR Plus bubble until April 11, following the recommendation of the Inter-agency Task Force.
The ECQ status was first imposed on March 29 after a severe increase of COVID-19 cases in the area.
The Department of Health has recorded an addition of 11,028 active cases, bringing the total active cases to 135,526 nationwide as of April 4. F