COVID-19 Watch News

OVCSA: Class suspension, lockdown not yet discussed by admin amid COVID-19

By Mark Ernest Famatigan

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA) OIC Eleno Peralta claimed that the technicalities of a possible class suspension and lockdown has yet to be discussed by the UPLB administration.

“Hindi pa napupunta dun yung discussion,” Peralta said.

In an interview, Peralta said that the University is taking measures to continue academic activities through online learning, and yet has not deliberated over what may happen in the event of a suspension.

“Wala pa ring usapin na suspension of classes. Parang bang remedial measures for the continuance of the academic activities as far as possible. Ang pinakasolusyon ata is yung online system. Hopefully it will work,” Peralta said.

Peralta also explained how the terms for suspension remain unclear, due to the unprecedented occurrence of a public health emergency such as COVID-19. However, he recognizes there is a need to suspend.

“Dun sa suspension, parang hindi malinaw eh. Who will declare the suspension of classes? Kapag sa weather disturbance kasi, the Governor [of Laguna] will declare, clear yun. Ngayon, hindi masyado, kasi sino ang magsususpend? Ano ang grounds for suspension? Pero at the same time, may need to suspend,” Peralta explained.

Online learning

Peralta expressed concerns over the implementation of the online learning system the admin suggests.

“Hindi ko lang alam kung kaya, because it’s the middle of the semester. Ang problema diyan yung mga large classes. Mabuti kung meron tayong malaking spacious classrooms that will accomodate students sitting one meter apart. Ang long-term solution ay distance learning pero matagal pa yun, paano yan?” he said.

He explained how self-quarantine may even affect the students’ academics, urging the students to be absent.

“Paano kung siya ay na-quarantine? What happens to his studies? Absent ba yun? Hindi mo naman pwedeng sisihin yung bata,” Peralta said.

Peralta also questioned the accessibility of online learning, with worries that not every student has access to the internet.

“Ang problema talaga, dapat iparating niyo yung internet. Yung mga bata na malalayo, lahat ba ay may access at device? And hindi rin ata pare-pareho ang access? Kung gagamitin mo yan sa 12,000 na estudyante, that is a challenge,” he said.

Health precautions

Peralta claimed that the admin is currently procuring hygiene products as a precautionary measure to somehow limit the spread of the virus. He claimed that the public emergency has caused the procurement process to be faster.

“In terms of supplies, ang sabi ng Office of the Chancellor, they’re going to procure in bulk the thermal scanners, alcohols, and disinfectants. Because of the declaration of public emergency, somehow the process will be faster than usual. So far ang kanilang konkretong policy initiative ay yung ito [na Memo 44]. It [the memo] needs a lot of improvement. Technical na po yun eh,” he said.

He also said that Chancellor Fernando Sanchez is currently at UP Diliman for a Presidential Action Meeting with all of the Chancellors to address the health issue. He expects that there would be adjustments to the memo upon his return. [P]


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