By Hannah Abril and Kevin Alaban | March 7, 2021
Silliman University Institute of Rehabilitative Sciences (IRS) students who underwent quarantine on campus were released early after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) eases mandatory quarantine and cross-border travel last Saturday.
3rd-year Physical Therapy (PT) students Danna Corado and Christelle Juarez were quarantined from February 18 for the former and Feb. 19 for the latter, to 25 at the Channon Hall dorm and soon transferred for home quarantine on the next seven days. Due to Malacañang’s announcement for no mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine on domestic travels, the students were released two days earlier than the required 14-day quarantine period.
“At the time, we were already in quarantine before the non-requirement of quarantine was announced so I didn’t think it affected our quarantine process,” Juarez shared last Wednesday. “Actually, my quarantine should finish by tomorrow (March 4) but because of the [new] law, that there would be no more quarantine, we were freed yesterday (March 2). ”
The college department was able to process students for face-to-face classes as the Commission on Higher Education Department (CHED) had approved allied medical courses to conduct physical classes in the second semester.
“We identified the students who would be candidates for limited face-to-face classes. So they did their intent, we had them fill out a survey in the google form. Those people with the intent to participate, of course, it is voluntary, and then we identified the ones who are from out of town, like not from Negros Oriental. And then all we did was forward their names to OSS, Office of Student Services, through dean Calingacion which she referred us to Cristy Destor.” said IRS Dean, Dr. Lily Ann Bautista.
According to the Dean, the process did not require a lot of work for the college as they only identified the students who wanted to participate in the face-to-face classes and forwarded it to the OSS.
“I think OSS already has all of the checklist information that they need to do. I think they communicated with them (students) and they facilitated some of the information here via, I think, the Department of Tourism and the LGU and all that. So for me, I don’t know what OSS went through. But I mean for me, we didn’t kinda do much [within] office,” Dr. Bautista shared.
The dean expressed her sentiment on the national announcement and towards the new quarantine guidelines.
“Personally speaking, being in the health profession, I really didn’t like it because I think it’s just too many things at the same time. I wish the government could have allowed us to do the limited face-to-face first, at least for a month. Kind of transition it, and then open the borders.”
“This is something that I still have not talked [about] with the VPAA. But I was intending to still quarantine the students for Silliman University when they come in… This is pending approval, this is just my thought ha,” she added.
Dr. Bautista noted that face-to-face will be held for laboratory classes only. Lecture classes will continue via Silliman Online University Learning (SOUL).
The face-to-face classes are voluntary and open for second to fourth-year PT students. Online classes will still resume for freshmen and students who choose the latter set-up.
“We have already a department plan on how we’re going to deliver simultaneous online and face to face. Again, we do reiterate with those who intend to continue online that we cannot duplicate of course,” the dean shared. “…We’ve actually [had] the support of the administration for that, we got like, you know, more computer stations here because we plan to do face to face and at the same time, stream.”
The limited face-to-face classes are only for laboratory subjects while lectures will remain online through SOUL. Lecture rooms will be converted to laboratory classrooms to accommodate eight to 12 people.
The college aims to start face-to-face classes in the last week of March or the first week of April but is yet dependent on CHED’s approval.
“I hope that, again, we can overcome all of this. There are a lot of challenges but one day at a time, and then hopefully we can get the best learning environment for our students,” Dr. Bautista stated. “Rest assured that we are kind of trying to balance between academic engagement and then also the health and safety of the students. We’re doing the best we can.”
The SU Covid-19 Crisis Management Group had conducted a meeting on March 6 afternoon to deliberate on the National Inter-Agency Task Force and Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force’s memoranda. An advisory from the University will be expected as soon as the decision to lift quarantine for the students is made.