UST implements 48-hour academic break

Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

After clamors from students, the University imposed a two-day academic break from September 20 to 21.

“These days were chosen with equal regard for both stakeholders’ needs and the needs of the institution,” Rev. Fr. Louie R. Coronel O.P. said in a letter.

“Though considerably short, we hope that such academic break may become grace-filled moments to breathe, recuperate, and attend to our health and personal needs, and those of our families,” he added.

On September 9, the UST Central Student Council (UST-CSC) made a petition to the University administration to implement an “academic ease” due to the spikes of COVID 19 cases in the country and other student-related matters.

To ease the burden, they recommended “putting a cap on the number of activities,… lesser synchronous classes, and any policies analogous to the foregoing.”

The petition also stated the “worrisome percentage” of students experiencing mental health issues.

“In the students’ survey conducted and as mentioned early on, the results yielded that 78.3% of students who answered identified their current mental health status at a range of 1–3, on a scale of 5, with 1 categorized as poor, five as excellent,” the petition said.

Work and classes will be halted during the academic break.

Barely enough

Despite the implementation of the break, students said that the University barely expressed the needs of Thomasians.

They said that the two-day break is a “band-aid” solution and can only be utilised to comply with academic requirements, but not lessen the burden.

“We still call for a long-term solution that addresses everyone…What we need are direct solutions — set breaks, leniency, & lessened workloads,” Gabriele De Lara, UST-CSC Public Relations Officer, said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, UST-CSC Vice President Gerald Dela Cruz emphasized that while the academic break is not enough, the issue goes beyond the University.

“We should recognize that the issue here is bigger than UST. It’s the incompetence of our government in resolving HEALTH and POLITICAL issues that worsened the state of our country and derailed a lot of opportunities and growth,” he also said in a tweet.

The office of the secretary-general clarified with TomasinoWeb that “requirements previously set to be given on those dates as well as deadlines due on those dates will have to be adjusted/reset.”

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The Premier Digital Media Organization of the University of Santo Tomas