CHED: Guidelines for the Prevention, Control and Mitigation of the Spread of COVID-19 in HEIs

In connection with the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolutions Nos. 35A and 36 issued on 13 May 2020, IATF Resolution No. 37 issued on 15 May 2020, and IATF Resolution No. 38 issued on 22 May 2020, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) hereby issues this advisory to all HEIs.

This advisory should be read in conjunction with CHED COVID-19 Advisories Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Applicable provisions of previously issued advisories not otherwise discussed below remain enforced.

As these recommended actions have been thoroughly discussed with both public and private HEIs, and have already been implemented by some HEIs, the following serves to document the agreed upon ECQ, Modified ECQ and GCQ activities.

A. On HEI Operations and Work Arrangements

1. In areas under ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ, HEIs are advised to observe the following guidelines:

a. Suspension of face-to-face or in-person classes until further directives from the IATF or issuance by the proper government authority that the province or city will be under MGCQ;

b. For HEIs which intend to offer summer classes, midterm and/or midyear intercession shall only be for the following students: (i) graduating students who need to complete their academic requirements; (ii) students whose subjects are scheduled in the summer under the PSG of their degree program and; (iii) students taking graduate studies;

Only HEIs with capability for full online learning will be allowed to conduct summer classes.

c. OJT and internship programs (foreign and local) remain suspended until ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, and MGCQ has been lifted. However, for HEIs in MGCQ areas, in-campus OJT and internship programs can be authorized provided there is strict compliance with physical distancing and other health protocols.

d. The opening of classes for AY 2020-2021 shall be based on the HEI’s delivery mode, subject to compliance with minimum health standards and the situation on the ground:

i. HEIs using full online education can open any time after May 31, 2020;

ii. HEIs using flexible learning can open anytime in August 2020;

iii. HEIs using significant face-to-face or in person mode can open no earlier than 01 September 2020;

For this purpose, all HEIs who are using the old academic calendar (June-May) are encouraged to change their academic year and open in August 2020 or later in the year.

e. HEIs should prepare for the opening of AY 2020-2021, by undertaking the following:

i. Preparation of the HEI facilities to comply with minimum health standards such as mandatory wearing of masks, hand washing and sanitation practices, safe physical distancing, reconfiguration of classroom spaces, provision of markers in public places, prohibition of mass gathering, among others;

ii. Consultation with local health officials and local government units to determine the health situation in the locality, availability of public transportation, and other support services necessary for the operation of HEIs;

iii. In consultation with stakeholders, preparation of a Contingency/Continuity plan as to the precautionary and other health protocols in case there are suspected or confirmed cases;

iv. Adoption of a flexible learning strategy or mode in delivering instruction by ensuring appropriate (1) Facility Delivery System (2) Faculty Complement, and (3) Student Support;

v. In coordination with local health officials and the local government unit, implementation of any of the following flexible enrolment procedures:

1. Online enrolment and payment through remittance services

2. Scheduling of students who will be allowed to enrol on any given day

3. Opening of satellite enrolment sites as practicable;

4. Other similar arrangements to limit the number of students allowed at any given time and ensure safe physical distance

f. Mass gatherings are prohibited. HEIs are prevented from conducting in-person graduation ceremonies and other school activities until the prohibition for mass gathering is lifted.

g. State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) shall operate under alternative work arrangements as the SUCs may deem proper in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

h. Private HEIs are advised to follow the guidelines of government agencies such as the

Department of Labor and Employments (DOLE) as regards to the deployment of its faculty and its staff.

2. In areas under GCQ, HEIs are advised to observe following guidelines:

a. HEIs are authorized to operate with a skeleton workforce exclusive for the following purposes:

i. To accept submission of requirements for the 2nd semester, AY 2019-2020, issue credentials to graduating students, and prepare for the opening of classes using flexible learning modes.

ii. To provide essential services to its clients.

b. Assigned skeleton workforce must NOT be any of the following: (1) under 21 years old or above 60 years of age, (2) pregnant, or (3) with existing medical conditions/comorbidities, except when indispensable for work under prevailing circumstances and public health standards as prescribed by the DOH and such related protocols or guidelines issued by the proper government authorities shall have been applied or complied with at all times by the HEI concerned.

c. The HEI shall facilitate and/or ensure that transportation services and personal protective equipment are provided to its skeleton workforce.

B. On Student Welfare and Concerns

1. HEIs are advised to establish a clear communication plan to their students and HEI personnel especially among grantees of scholarship programs to ensure that urgent and significant concerns are addressed.

2. HEIs are encouraged to communicate and transact using non-face-to-face means such as through online and social media platforms, phone, electronic mail, and/or courier services, among others.

3. HEIs shall inform their students and HEI personnel on the enrolment process and specific education delivery mode that they will implement for AY 2020-2021 no later than one week before the enrolment period. The enrolment process and education delivery mode shall be reported to their respective CHEDROs.

4. HEIs shall respect the decision of families not to send their children to school due to concerns about their safety. If needed, HEIs may revise their academic policies, such as the policy on maximum residence, to ensure that students’ academic standing or status in the program is not disadvantaged.

5. HEIs shall work with local government units to facilitate contacts with their students in areas where public transportation is not fully operational and to assist in bringing educational materials and information to their students.

6. HEIs shall allow and assist foreign students who wish to return to their home countries and agree on the alternative instructional and learning mode to be adopted for them to complete their academic requirements for the current term and the incoming academic year.

As the pandemic situation is very fluid, the IATF, National Task Force COVID-19, together with the Office of the Executive Secretary, and other line departments will continue to meet on a regular basis to assess the Covid-19 threat and will provide updates on any changes to the ECQ, MECQ, GCQ and MGCQ. CHED will provide new directives and guidelines as they become available.

In the meantime, CHED strongly advises HEIs to refer and continue to observe the instructions stipulated in this and previously issued CHED Advisories (Nos. 1 to 6).


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