(MNS Photo)

MANILA, Nov 17 (Mabuhay) — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) recommendation to carry out the phased implementation of in-person classes in higher education institutions (HEIs).

The IATF-EID, in its Resolution 148-G approved Tuesday, adopted the proposed resumption of limited face-to-face (F2F) classes for all degree programs following the phased and nationwide implementation of Alert Levels System (ALS) for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

“Under the said proposal, the CHED is mandated to execute the phased implementation program to ensure the safe reopening of higher education campuses,” Nograles said in a press statement.

Under the guidelines on the nationwide implementation of ALS , limited F2F classes are now allowed in areas placed under Alert Levels 1, 2 and 3, subject to certain conditions.

The reopening of classes will be allowed, on conditions that the room capacity is only at 50 percent, participants only include fully-vaccinated teaching and non-teaching personnel and students, and concerned local government units give their approval.

Nograles said Phase 1 of the implementation of limited F2F classes will commence on December 2021 onwards, while Phase 2 will begin in January 2022 onwards.

During the implementation of Phase 1, all HEIs in areas under Alert Level 2 may apply for the resumption of physical classes, Nograles said.

Nograles added that all HEIs in areas under Alert Level 3 may apply for limited F2F classes during the implementation of Phase 2.

“The phased implementation of face-to-face classes in HEIs shall be done consistent with Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-001, or the Guidelines on the Gradual Reopening of Campuses of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) for Limited Face-to-Face Classes during the COVID-19 Pandemic, issued by CHED and the Department of Health,” he said.

The circular, Nograles said, would serve as a guide for HEIs that intend to hold limited F2F classes and are willing to assume the responsibilities for the reopening of their campuses.

Nograles said HEIs must comply with health and safety protocols, retrofit their facilities, and get the support of their stakeholders.

“The IATF would like to reiterate that the phased implementation of limited face-to-face classes in HEIs should be done alongside the continued implementation of proactive measures and restrictions that have been put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and have contributed to the steady decline in Covid-19 cases in the country,” he said.

Nograles also reminded all individuals qualified to participate in the reopening of classes to continue wearing face masks, observing social distancing, and washing their hands.

“As we slowly and cautiously open our college classrooms, we urge all stakeholders involved to work together to ensure the safety of our students so that they may be able to return to their schools secure in the knowledge that every effort has been made to safeguard their health,” Nograles said. (MNS)

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