Around 1,500 student, faculty, parents, guardians, LGU officials, vendors, and other stakeholders joined the consultation meeting for the crafting of the proactive plan of Central Luzon State University (CLSU) held virtually on October 22, 2021. The public consultation activity was conducted as an initial step in preparation for the possible implementation of limited face-to-face classes in CLSU come early next year.
Dr. Theody B. Sayco, Dean of the College of Engineering and Chair of the Limited Face-to-Face Committee, presented the initial plans and preparations of the University to the attendees. He emphasized that the Plan complies with the joint memorandum circular (JMC) number 2021-001 of the Department of Health (DOH) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on the guidelines for the gradual reopening of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
According to Dr. Sayco, the selected programs under the College of Engineering (CEn) such as the Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Biosystems Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, and Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, and the College of Home Science and Industry (CHSI) such as the Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management, will form part of the initial subjects to be offered under the limited face-to-face classes as these all require a laboratory for skills enhancement.
Following the provided CHED guidelines, CLSU must satisfy the minimum health protocols to obtain accreditation which will be valid for two semesters. Other than the physical preparation and retrofitting of the facilities, those who will opt for the limited face-to-face classes must be officially enrolled senior and junior students who are at least 20 years old and fully vaccinated.
“Attendance to face-to-face classes is NOT mandatory. We give our students the right to choose considering the restrictions of the situation without prejudice to their class assessment,” Dr. Sayco clarified.
CLSU President Edgar A. Orden who was also present in the virtual event assured the stakeholders that the University will also be looking into the possibility of expanding the coverage of limited face-to-face classes to Veterinary Science and Medicine, Biology, Agriculture, and other courses with laboratory classes. He also added that CLSU will make the necessary proposal to CHED once the campus is ready and capable of accommodating a bigger number of students.
The health protocols, the readiness of the University, the establishment of the Crisis Management Committee, the Cyclical Students Shifting Model, the Occupancy Capacity, and the Additional Health and Safety Measures were also discussed as criteria of CHED for the approval of the inclusion of additional courses in limited face-to-face classes.
Part of the CLSU Proactive Plan is the inclusion that minimum health protocols will be imposed on the campus, and these include the wearing of face masks, face shields, and observance of physical distancing. While visual cues, floor markers, and physical barriers will also be put in place as an additional precaution to avoid the transmission of the virus.
Moreover, right after the presentation of the initial plans, questions and clarifications from the stakeholders were accommodated and readily answered by the Committee members. Also, some students and parents provided insightful suggestions for consideration of the management in the smooth implementation of limited face-to-face classes next year.
After the University has completed and submitted all the necessary documents to CHED, CLSU will be subjected to their evaluation and inspection to obtain the authority to reopen the campus for the limited face-to-face classes.
The meeting ended with high hopes that the preparation of CLSU will lead to the opening of all courses for the next few months. But meanwhile, courses that are not included in the limited face-to-face classes will still observe the current flexible learning system used by the University.