Amidst Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) go signal on resuming limited face-to-face (LF2F) classes on Jan. 31 in areas under Alert Level 3, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s administration remains firm against opening the College’s gates until the 3rd Term of A.Y. 2021-2022.
In an official statement given to the Benildean Press Corps, Vice Chancellor for Academics Angelo Lacson announced that even if CHED’s COVID-19 Advisory No. 9 allows schools to resume in-person classes by the end of the month, the College will proceed with the Back-to-Benilde program in May as originally planned. Furthermore, he assured that “the taskforce behind our gradual reopening will remain responsive to the times as necessary.”
CHED’s COVID-19 Advisory No. 9
Despite the new surge in COVID-19 cases, with the Department of Health (DOH) tallying 28,007 new infections as of Jan. 11, CHED released COVID Advisory No. 9, allowing higher education institutions (HEIs) in areas under Alert Level 3 to push through with Phase 2 of LF2F classes by the end of January.
Proposed in November 2021, Phase 2 is part of CHED’s phased rollout of in-person classes wherein schools in regions under Alert Level 3 can apply for the implementation of LF2F classes starting January 2022. Subsequently, Phase 1 began in December last year in which only HEIs in regions under Alert Level 2 were allowed to conduct in-person sessions.
Under CHED’s guidelines for the reopening of face-to-face classes in areas under Alert Level 3, schools must allow a maximum of 30% indoor and 50% outdoor capacities respectively. In addition, students, teaching, and non-teaching personnel must be fully vaccinated to participate. Meanwhile, CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera III stated that HEIs are not required to implement face-to-face classes and may continue to offer online classes if they wish.
However, CHED’s guidelines were released prior to the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant which, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, has replaced the Delta variant as the most dominant COVID-19 variant in the country.