Limited face-to-face classes, now allowed in all degree courses — Malacañang

Maris Federez   •   November 5, 2021   •   632

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has allowed the conduct of limited face-to-face classes in universities and colleges in areas under Alert Level 2.

Malacañang made the announcement Friday, November 5.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, however, said the IATF has set several conditions in the implementation of face-to-face classes to ensure safety and prevention of coronavirus disease infection in the schools.

“Bagama’t pupwede na po, merong kondisyones po na masatisfy bago mag face-to-face ang ating mga colleges and universities,” Roque said.

As the first condition, all students and school personnel must be fully-vaccinated.

Secondly, schools must ensure that there is proper ventilation and that facilities are retrofitted.

“Pupwede na pero meron pong kondisyon. Lahat ng propesor at estudyante bakunado, merong pagpayag ng LGUs, merong retroffiting po ng mga classrooms para masiguradong may ventilation at, pang apat, 50% lang po ang capacity ng mga classrooms,” Roque said.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said vaccination will be a mandatory requirement in all additional degree programs that will open in universities.

“Kung doon sa other degree programs the agreement in the IATF is vaccination so the students have to be vaccinated, the faculty members have to be vaccinated for the expanded face-to-face classes,” said CHED chairman Prof. Prospero De Vera.

“They should vaccinate their students as fast as they can. And they should retrofit their facilities as fast as they can it’s another incentive for the schools to do school-based vaccination,” he added.

De Vera also said that Metro Manila may possibly be included among areas that are allowed to conduct physical classes now that the region has been placed under Alert Level 2.

“Most probably that would happen in areas where vaccination rate is already high like maybe in Metro Manila yung first phase,” he said.

He, however, clarified that this must have approval from the local government units before a school is granted the authority to operate.

CHED is confident that it will reach the 3 million target student population vaccinated students before the year ends.

CHED said vaccinated students are now close to 1 million (28%), as of October 25, with the continuing school-based vaccination drive. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

IATF updates isolation, quarantine rules for fully vaccinated aviation personnel

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force has approved the updated isolation and quarantine protocols for aviation personnel infected with COVID-19 and those exposed to positive cases, Malacañang said Friday.

In a press briefing, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that aviation personnel with a mild case of COVID-19 or are asymptomatic will now be required to isolate for five days, provided that they are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot against COVID-19.

Aviation personnel who were close contacts or exposed to confirmed COVID-19 cases but do not manifest symptoms are not required to undergo quarantine, provided that they are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot.

Nograles also said that symptomatic close contacts of those who recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days need not undergo quarantine.

The updated isolation and quarantine protocols for the aviation sector include but not limited to airline personnel, ground handlers, maintenance providers, 3 airport security, air traffic controllers, airport workers and other aviation-related personnel.

“DOTr and its attached agencies shall identify the appropriate accountable group to make decisions for shortening isolation or quarantine based on evidence, similar to Hospital Infection Prevention and Control wherein infectious disease specialists, safety officers, and management deliberate, monitor, and act on all infection-related concerns of the health facility,” Nograles said.

The policy is contained under IATF Resolution No. 157 released by the Palace on Friday.

The resolution also mandates all aircrafts to “ensure appropriate ventilation and all aviation staff should wear appropriate personal protective equipment at all times.”

“DOTr shall monitor and evaluate the implementation of the aviation industry, and copy furnish reports to the DOH Epidemiology Bureau for assessment of COVID-19 cases, clusters, vaccination status, and the like,” it said.

“IATF retains the authority to revoke/modify the privilege provided to the aviation industry for shortened quarantine and isolation,” it added.

Philippines updates protocols for arriving international passengers

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has updated the entry protocols for arriving international passengers, Malacañang announced Friday.

Acting Presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved the recommendations of the sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics and the Technical Advisory Group to amend the testing and quarantine protocols for passengers arriving from countries classified as “Green,” “Yellow,” and Red” as provided for under IATF Resolution No. 154-C (s.2021).

Under the updated protocols, fully vaccinated passengers from Green list countries will be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall no longer be required to observe mandatory facility-based quarantine but shall self-monitor for any sign or symptom for 7 days with the first day being the date of arrival

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required of the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • They shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day
  • After which, they are enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms for 14 days, with the first day being the date of arrival

The following areas have been classified as Green or low-risk for COVID-19:

  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • British Virgin Islands
  • China (Mainland)
  • Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Niger
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Taiwan
  • Timor-Leste (East Timor)
  • Uganda

Meanwhile, the protocols for fully vaccinated passengers arriving from Yellow List areas shall be as follows:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • Once with a negative result, they may be released for completion of home quarantine up to the 7th day from the date of arrival

Passengers who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • Once with a negative result, they may be released for completion of home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival

The Philippine government has also allowed Filipino travelers from Red list areas to enter the country, subject to entry, quarantine, and testing protocols as determined by the IATF.

Fully vaccinated passengers from Red territories shall be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • Once with a negative result, they may be released from facility quarantine, provided the completion of home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival

For individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • They may be discharged only upon the completion of a 10-day facility-based quarantine, regardless of a negative RT-PCR result, and shall observe home quarantine until the 14th day, with the date of arrival being the first day

The following areas are under the Red list or high-risk for COVID-19:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Canada
  • Curacao
  • French Guiana
  • Iceland
  • Malta
  • Mayotte
  • Mozambique
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Spain
  • US Virgin Islands

“Dahil nga po meron na po tayong cases ng Omicron at marami po tayong mga kababayan na nasa Red List countries na gusto nang umuwi at base sa dati nating protocols na kailangan po ng Bayanihan Flights para sila ay makauwi… nagkaroon po ng desisyon ang IATF na itong mga kababayan natin mula sa Red List countries ay payagan na nating umuwi, bumalik dito without the need for Bayanihan Flights,” Nograles said.

The Palace official has clarified that the new policy does not cover international tourists.

The latest country risk classification is effective from January 16 to 31, 2022.

 

Limited in-person classes in most colleges, universities to open by February – CHED

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – At least 200 universities and colleges in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 will open limited in-person learning by February, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said Thursday.

CHED chairperson Prospero De Vera said most of the higher education institutions (HEI) have opted to open limited face-to-face classes next month instead of January amid rising COVID-19 cases.

“Natapos ko nang i-meet ang lagpas 200 na mga pamantasan nitong nakaraang linggo at ang marami sa kanila na nasa Alert Level 3 ay nag-decide na February sila magbubukas kung sakali ng limited face-to-face,” De Vera said.

“Iyong mga iba naman ay magbubukas ng online tapos magshi-shift sa limited face-to-face kapag okay na ang kalagayan ng kanilang lugar,” he added.

CHED earlier announced it will push through with Phase 2 of the limited in-person classes in HEIs in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 on January 31 after it was allowed by the Department of Health. Universities and colleges under Alert Level 2 can begin anytime.

De Vera, however, said that the initial date they set was just a “reference point.”

“Ibig sabihin, depende iyan doon sa kalagayan on the ground ng mga pamantasan, ang kanilang konsultasyon sa local governments, ang kondisyon ng kanilang facilities, konsultasyon sa mga faculty at students at mag-adjust sila depende doon sa kalagayan,” he said.

Meanwhile, HEIs in areas hit by Typhoon Odette have yet to resume limited classes as repair works in their facilities are ongoing.

De Vera also said that the power supply in some areas has not been restored.

 

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