Manila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso has approved the plan of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) to conduct limited face-to-face classes for medical and allied health programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was approved after UST officials met with Domagoso to discuss how the educational institution will observe health and safety protocols, manage occupancy capacity, and implement contingency plans should students, faculty or staffers develop COVID-19 symptoms, among others.
A joint memorandum circular by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Health (DOH) requires higher educational institutions vying to conduct limited face-to-face classes to consult with their respective local government units their plans on how they will comply with government protocols.
“Consider it approved. We will just follow the memoranda of CHED,” Domagoso told UST officials.
However, Domagoso reminded UST officials that students who refuse to participate in limited face-to-face classes should not be forced to do so.
“Huwag niyong pilitin ang ayaw, kasi baka may masabi sa inyo [Do not force them lest they complain],” the Mayor said.
Present during the meeting were Vice Mayor Ma. Sheilah ‘Honey’ Lacuna-Pangan, UST Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Dr. Cheryl Peralta, UST Faculty of Medicine Dean Dr. Odette Maglinao, UST College of Rehabilitation Sciences Dean Dr. Anne Aseron, as well as Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital Director Dr. Merle Sacdalan.
Likewise, Domagoso bared during the meeting that teachers would be among those prioritized for vaccination once the local government has secured COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized by the national government.
“Teachers will be included in the first batch for the vaccine. Whether you’re a Manilan or a non-Manilan, as long as you’re working here in Manila, you will be included in the list for vaccine,” Domagoso said.
“Sa bagong semestre eh (hopefully) by that time, nabakunahan ko na ‘yung nanay at tatay, at ‘yung magtuturo, mas maliit ang tsansa na mag-blowout ang infection sa school. It will infect some, but it will deflect dahil matibay na ang katawan [In this new semester, we hope that by that time we have vaccinated the mother and the father, and the teacher. In so doing, the chances of infection in the school will be lessened because our bodies can resist the virus better],” the Mayor said.