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MU gears up for limited face-to-face classes for 2nd Quarter A.Y. 2021-2022

Written By: Therese Anne B. Cruz, Reine Amabel J. Jaruda, and Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

Graphics by: Cristelle S. Corpuz

Following the approval to hold limited face-to-face classes of up to 50 percent capacity in all degree programs in areas under Alert Level 2 including Metro Manila, Mapúa University (MU) is currently seeking approval from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to deliver some engineering laboratory courses in limited face-to-face mode for the 2nd Quarter A.Y. 2021-2022.

Preparing for limited face-to-face classes

Last November 2, MU released the official guidelines for the term including the possible implementation of limited face-to-face classes later this quarter and list of courses that will be offered in 50% face-to-face mode and 50% online setup which were laboratory courses, thesis and capstone design, and on-the-job training (OJT) courses of engineering programs at the Intramuros campus. As for those courses not mentioned in the guidelines, these classes will remain in fully online mode.

Three days later, the University clarified that they were still in the process of securing approval from CHED to hold limited face-to-face classes for specified courses in the guidelines, and that classes for the 2nd Quarter A.Y. 2021-2022 would start on November 8 in fully online mode as they had to satisfy the policies and guidelines on safety to proceed with the reopening of the campus for limited face-to-face classes.

“The courses to be delivered in limited face-to-face mode this 2nd Quarter AY 2021- 2022 are mandated by […] CMO 19 s2021,” Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (EVPAA) Dr. Bonifacio T. Doma, Jr. said. 

The CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) 19 s2021 stated that since not all engineering and technology skills can be obtained through flexible learning, the guidelines on the conduct of critical workshop and laboratory, thesis and capstone design, and OJT courses of engineering and engineering technology programs during the COVID-19 pandemic period were presented. The CMO 19 s2021 also contained the specific courses of engineering programs requiring limited face-to-face delivery.

Securing approval from CHED

Dr. Doma mentioned that the University has submitted the Learning Continuity Plan to CHED NCR for review and approval. “The Learning Continuity Plan enumerates the health and safety protocols and guidelines, policies on the use of laboratories, and conduct of on-the-job courses upon the resumption of limited face-to-face classes,” he explained.

As shared by the EVPAA, once the CHED regional office has verified that the University has submitted the complete requirements, there will be an ocular inspection with the team composed of representatives from CHED, local government unit, Department of Health, and/or Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. After confirming that the University has complied with the policies and regulations, CHED will issue the approval to reopen the Intramuros campus for limited face-to-face classes.

Learning under the new normal

Students who would like to conduct thesis work on-campus once MU has obtained approval from CHED should adhere to the guidelines posted by the University. Some of the guidelines were submitting their reservation forms ahead of their visit, maintaining physical/social distancing, and bringing their personal safety kit.

As for OJT courses, BS Chemical Engineering, BS Civil Engineering, BS Computer Engineering, BS Electrical Engineering, BS Electronics Engineering, BS Environmental and Sanitary Engineering, BS Industrial Engineering, and BS Mechanical Engineering students will adhere to face-to-face company immersion upon approval from CHED as well. Students enrolled in programs not mentioned in the list will have their virtual internship. Further details will be issued by the Office of International Career and Exchange Programs.

When asked if the conduct of limited face-to-face classes will still change based on the alert levels in Metro Manila or as directed by CHED as well as local and national governments, the EVPAA said that they will “implement limited face-to-face delivery based on CMO 19 s2021 and will comply with all upcoming government issuances related to this”.

According to the CMO 19 s2021, higher learning institutions including the University will be required to enforce policies to maintain health and safety standards for students and faculty. For those who will enter the campus, there will be a daily screening of health declaration forms and the required use of personal protective equipment. Additionally, school facilities and equipment will be sanitized after each use as well as laboratories and classrooms will be retrofitted to strictly observe social distancing requirements. A safety officer will also be designated to monitor the student body’s compliance to these regulations.

Dr. Doma assured that they will release the detailed policies and guidelines for face-to-face classes under limited capacity based on the CHED-approved Learning Continuity Plan and those documents provided by CHED and the governing agencies as soon as they have received feedback from CHED. For now, classes for the 2nd Quarter A.Y. 2021-2022 would still be held in fully online mode.

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