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CHED: Experts crafting guidelines for limited face-to-face classes in all courses
Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Oct 15 2021 05:52 PM
Medical students perform a clinical skills exercise on an electronic dummy during a face-to-face class at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, June 10, 2021. Basilio H. Sepe, ABS-CBN News
MANILA— The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has created an experts group to craft guidelines for a "second option" on limited face-to-face classes for all degree programs, its head told ABS-CBN News. 
The guidelines would aim to allow higher education institutions (HEIs) to open limited in-person classes for all degree programs.
In an interview, CHED Chair Prospero de Vera said this would only be implemented in schools and areas with high vaccination rates and low COVID-19 incidence.
"We have created an experts group to draft the guidelines for this second option. So iyong second option na iyan, kung maganda ung trend ng vaccination, baka pwede na nating ilabas iyan by January," he explained.
(This second option could be released by January if the rate of vaccinations is good)
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De Vera added schools must have good "working relationships" with their respective local government units for them to be allowed to open limited in-person classes.
He said October and November will be "crucial" as the commission would closely monitor vaccinations in colleges and universities. 
"We require them to do an inventory of their students, faculty, and employees who are vaccinated; they report regularly to our regional office. And then we target those that have low vaccination rates to determine if it is an issue of supply," De Vera explained.
"For example, kung mababa ang supply, tinutulungan namin sila (if the vaccine supply is low, we help them) through Sec. Charlie Galvez (vaccine czar Carlito Galvez), to move some supply to the area. Or it if it is because they are not very closely coordinated with local governments, we also push them or we talk to the local governments so they can work together."
Last month, CHED allowed the expansion of limited face to face classes to Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM), engineering, tourism, and maritime courses.
Students in Medicine and allied health courses were permitted to conduct limited in-person classes in January.
Of the first batch of students allowed to hold in-person instruction, less than 1 percent tested positive for COVID-19, prompting De Vera to call for the expansion of on-site classes for other programs. 
Duterte also recently authorized the pilot test of face-to-face classes in basic education as part of a plan to gradually reopen schools, which have been closed for more than a year.
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