The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) granted Friday the certificate of authority for Palawan State University (PSU) to reopen limited face-to-face classes for Bachelor of Science Nursing and Midwifery programs on the second semester of the Academic Year 2021-2022.
In a press conference during the ceremonial vaccination of tertiary students in Palawan, CHED chairperson Prof. J. Prospero de Vera III and CHED MIMAROPA Regional Director Atty. Joselito Alisuag awarded the certificate to PSU President Ramon M. Docto, allowing the university to open classes for the chosen health-allied programs.
CHED allowed the reopening of the degree programs after PSU’s College of Nursing applied and qualified to the standard guidelines stated in the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-001 of the commission and the Department of Health (DOH).
“The steps that the universities need to undergo to be authorized to have a limited face-to-face, kasama diyan is, making sure that protocols are observed, also there is a retro-fitting of facilities, and of course agreement or discussion between the university and local government units (LGUs) together with the local IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force),” Prof. De Vera said.
De Vera said that while the National Inter-Agency Task Force confirmed on Friday afternoon the limited face-to-face classes with 50% capacity for all degree programs in universities and colleges located in areas under Alert Level 2 or MGCQ, this will still depend on factors like LGU’s approval, the rate of universities’ retro-fitting, and vaccination among students.
“For the earlier batch of limited face-to-face, we did not mandate everyone to get vaccinated, but the IATF’s latest requirement is for students to get vaccinated for face-to-face classes. So, we just have to make sure that those who want to get vaccinated be vaccinated as soon as possible so they can go to their classes safely. If students or faculty don’t want to get vaccinated, edi they can continue with their online classes,” De Vera mentioned.
“But if we really want to bring them back to school, let’s get them vaccinated,” he reiterated.
CHED, in October, launched their nationwide vaccination caravan entitled “PADYAK para sa Kalusugan” aimed to inoculate tertiary students using school campuses as vaccination centers in order to prepare the youth in the gradual reopening of classes.
According to de Vera, the school-based vaccination would be more efficient since the school has their master list of students which makes it easier for them to contact those who will get vaccinated, the facilities are also wider where social distancing can be practiced, and students are more comfortable seeing their campus and friends once again.
He also assured the universities that vaccines would be provided for them exclusively without needing to rely on the procurement of local governments.
“Huwag niyo na pong problemahin ang number of vaccines na available. Nag-usap na po kami ni president [Duterte] that the national task force will provide for your school exclusively,” the chairperson said.
On Friday, a total of 500 students from around Palawan were given first doses of Moderna vaccine at the PSU Gymnasium during the kick-off of the caravan in the province.
PSU President Dr. Docto said that they will be conducting vaccination at the main campus every Friday until all their students get vaccinated. He also vowed that the university will reach out to their external campuses to organize the students’ vaccination.
“Pupuntahan namin sila at doon gagawin sa campuses ang vaccination. Ang next target namin is Brooke’s Point [PSU Campus],” he declared.
He added that, so far, PSU’s College of Engineering and Technology, College of Hospitality Management, and College of Sciences have applied for the reopening of limited face-to-face classes as these are the ones needing laboratories and physical internships.
Atty. Alisuag, on the other hand, mentioned that the next higher education institution in Puerto Princesa that applied for a limited face-to-face class is Palawan Polytechnic College Inc. (PPCI) for its midwifery program.
Also present during the event were Erwin Edualino, Puerto Princesa Association of Higher Education Institutions (PPAHEI) representative, and Dr. Julie Hope Evina, Western Philippines University president.