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BukSU to open limited face to face classes in all programs

MALAYBALAY CITY (OP-IPS/14 January 2022) Bukidnon State University is set to proceed with the first phase of limited face to face classes in all programs this semester, an official said.

Dr. Hazel Jean M. Abejuela, VP for Academic Affairs, told the BukSU Updates radio program on January 5, 2022, that BukSU will implement limited face-to-face classes gradually.   

“We will open (face-to-face) classes but limited to 4th year college students and for subjects requiring laboratory, return demonstration, and internships,” Dr. Abejuela said in the Maiden Episode of this year’s season of the official radio program.

She said for lecture-based subjects, students will use modular or online synchronous-asynchronous setup. It is now a blend of face-to-face learning and flexible learning systems,” she added.

Fourth year students were prioritized because the university wanted to restore the sense of normalcy at least before they graduate from the university, she said.

The Commission on Higher Education and Department of Health issued Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-004 on December 15, 2021, providing for general and specific guidelines for the face-to-face classes. Dr. Abejuela said the university is abiding by the provisions of the JMC.

BukSU, she added, has enhanced its learning continuity plan in response to this development.

“We were given enough time to really prepare our campus particularly the classrooms and other facilities observing the 1.5 physical distancing,” she said.

For the year 2022, Dr. Oscar B. Cabañelez, university president, said that the university is looking forward to the reopening of face-to-face classes.

According to him, there are already plans approved by the Commission on Higher Education for the face-to-face classes, which will start on the fourth year and other laboratory classes of lower years.

He said we are ready for gradual limited face-to-face classes.

The second and third phases in the university’s gradual implementation of face-to-face classes would depend on the COVID -19 alert levels in Bukidnon in the succeeding semesters.

No ‘one size fits all’

Dr. Abejuela said the university will implement the Student Cyclical Shifting System by academic program.

CHED has suggested a 4-10 model: four consecutive days on-campus and 10 consecutive days off-campus. Another scheme is the 4-17 model: four consecutive days on-campus and 17 consecutive days off-campus. 

BukSU scheduled the start of classes on January 17, 2022 with a week-long Virtual Academic Orientation. Students qualified to attend face-to-face sessions can only enter the school premises based on their respective program cyclical plans.

“For the fourth-year students who want to undergo face-to-face internships, they shall follow the safety heath protocol specified on the Memorandum of Agreement. Our number one priority is the safety and health of the students,” she added.

Aside from complying with local health protocols and having full vaccination, CHED has also required students to have a medical insurance such as Philhealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corporation). 

This is to ensure that in case they get sick, she said, students have protection for medical treatment, which is beyond the responsibility of the university.

CHED has also required LGU’s clearance including classroom retrofitting.

As of January 4, 2022, majority of the students who responded to a survey conducted by the OVPAA have agreed to hold face-to-face classes.

Out of the 2,739 fourth year students from both main and satellite campuses, 1, 977 or 72.17% responded to the survey. Of the number, 77.7% agreed to holding face-to-face class. About 21.1% were undecided.

Out of those who responded positively, 76.80% were fully vaccinated, 18.30% partially vaccinated, and 5.20% are not yet vaccinated,” she said.

The Office of the Student Services also initiated a stakeholder’s consultation with boarding house owners for strict compliance of safety health protocols in their respective buildings.

But Dr. Abejuela noted that BukSU’s planned limited face-to-face classes is not mandatory as stated in Section 4-A of CHED-DOH JMC No. 2021-004.

Unvaccinated students, she added, may still enroll but would not be allowed to attend face-to-face classes.

Dr. Abejuela said the university is taking a holistic perspective of education where a big part of that dimension is the health and safety of students.

“Surviving this pandemic healthy, safe, and alive is a big accomplishment,” she said. (Diana Rose B. Lagoy/OP-Information and Publication Services)

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