By Princess Patricia Lumenario
Thomasians expressed positive reactions as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) directed universities and colleges to implement either full face-to-face classes or hybrid learning for the second semester of the school year.
Currently, the University utilizes the enriched virtual mode as its primary learning strategy, while hybrid learning and full face-to-face classes for select programs have been rolled out.
Following the announcement, several Thomasians shared their reactions to the specific changes compared to the current state and system of the University.
“I believe it [is] about time to have these changes because it [has] been a while since UST started preparing for face-to-face classes to be done safely given there are health protocols that the school strictly follows,” said Allysa, a first-year Medical Technology student.
Others said that as long as health protocols will continue to be observed or strengthened and facilities are readily available, it is safe to go back to full face-to-face classes.
Raymund, a Journalism student, then emphasized the state of students during online classes.
“Nakakabato rin sa bahay, ang hirap mag-aral ng online, tapos yung mga estudyante, mas matututo naman talaga pag nasa school,” he said.
On the other hand, Carlo Miguel, another student from the Faculty of Pharmacy, told TomasinoWeb that full face-to-face classes would be the best modality for his specific course but also proposed options for other students.
“In the vantage point of a student studying in the medical academe, it would be advantageous if all classes would be conducted in a face-to-face setting…the clinical and practical application of knowledge and skills…will in fact be realized,” he said.
“However, the varying capabilities of students to cope with the logistical, financial, physical, and mental stress of going to and from the school must emphatically be probed,” he added.
In addition, a few said that, if it cannot be helped, conducting 50 percent of classes online is also okay to give way for an adjustment period towards full-onsite learning University-wide.
As stipulated in CHED Memorandum Order №16 Series of 2022, signed on November 11, higher education institutions (HEIs) may design and deliver their degree programs only through onsite or hybrid learning, removing full online classes after considering their institutional capabilities, learners’ needs and preferences, and consultations.
It can be recalled that during the Discurso de Apertura held last Aug. 4, 2022, Prof. Clarita Carillo, the assistant to the Rector for planning and quality management, stated that UST would not return to any full on-site delivery in the future even after the pandemic, as new designs of blended delivery learning are proposed to cope up with learning effects of the closure of schools during these times.
Meanwhile, Prof. Cheryl R. Peralta, the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, is yet to respond about the University’s specific plan of action toward the said mandate for the next semester.