by Ranjie Nocete | November 12, 2021
The Silliman University Buildings and Grounds (B&G) Department and Crisis Management Group discussed the readiness and preparations of their respective departments if face-to-face classes resume.
According to B&G department head Engr. Edgar Ygnalaga Jr., as far as preparations go, they have only done the provisions for handwashing and the triage system for students and faculty at the front gate of the campus.
“On the part of the retrofitting of classrooms, we have not yet done anything because we are waiting for the approved retrofitting, the memorandum from the Department of Education [sic — Commission on Higher Education], and also from the DOH [Department of Health],” added Ygnalaga.
According to Ygnalaga, there may be a 50% reduction of class size from 40 to 20 students. Classes may also take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to maximize the classrooms. Additionally, air ventilation may be applied by opening the windows of each room, along with utilizing electric fans instead of air conditioners.
Regarding the handling of the laboratory fees, Ygnalaga said that a big portion of these fees is to be allocated for laboratory equipment.
“In the part of the Buildings and Grounds, we renovated the chemistry department laboratories, the allied health sciences laboratories, and some others,” Ygnalaga added. He further noted that these renovations were done before and during the pandemic.
When asked if the classrooms, appliances, and other equipment are maintained, Ygnalaga responded, “Yes, they are.” He shared that the janitors are still employed, with a 50% reduction of their workdays, from 20 to 10 days a month.
Ygnalaga stated that due to the reduction of work output, the maintenance work for the campus grounds has been lessened. “I can assure you that the classrooms are clean, but the surroundings are not as clean as [they were] before the pandemic,” Ygnalaga added.
Ygnalaga assured that the work output will be back to full capacity when the students return to the campus.
If announcements will be made to push through with F2F classes, Ygnalaga said that the B&G department can prepare a month before for a general cleanup.
Dr. Walden Ursos, head of the Crisis Management Group, said that the health protocols implemented in the university are based on the joint memorandum of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and DOH.
“The performance of the limited face-to-face classes by the allied health courses will be evaluated first,” said Dr. Ursos. He explained that an inspection from CHED will take place to evaluate the safety of the students and teachers before giving consideration for other non-allied courses to hold their F2F classes.
According to Ursos, “Allied health will be the template.” He shared that the current status of the limited face-to-face classes for allied health courses has been going well. He also reported that the few existing COVID cases are confirmed to be from community transmission and not from school.
“There are different sets of guidelines for the campus and the community, ” Ursos said. The Crisis Management Group’s goal is to implement safety on the campus and ensure that it can respond to any breaches of COVID-19.
Ursos also mentioned that both Davao Cottage and Channon Hall are accredited quarantine dormitories for faculty, students, and staff infected with COVID.
When asked about the maintenance of the health protocols for F2F classes, Ursos said, “We are ready. The success of this preparation depends on the cooperation of every employee and student in the campus that would follow protocol.”
Ursos emphasizes that all students, faculty, and staff must follow the standard safety protocols and practice honesty when it comes to reporting possible exposures to COVID-19 within the campus. He strongly urges everyone to get vaccinated as it is a key aspect for the return to F2F classes.