Tarlac State University started its limited in-person classes today (September 6, 2022) for the first semester of academic year 2022-2023.
University President Dr. Arnold E. Velasco welcomed the students during the flag raising ceremony, discussed the start of the limited face-to-face classes, and reminded everyone of the university’s health and safety protocols.
“Ito na po ‘yung new normal -- naging agile na po tayo, resilient. Parte na po ng buhay natin ito. We have confidence naman na we are protected by [the COVID-19] vaccine. Mag-ingat pa rin po tayong lahat. May temperature check pa din po tayo and alcohol stations. Let’s have our mask on always,” said Pres. Velasco.
Mhelmiles Cuchon, a third-year student from the College of Public Administration and Governance, is among the students who attended classes earlier today. In an interview, she shared her classroom learning experience after two years of studying online, transitioning to wearing school uniforms, and meeting her classmates at the university.
“Mas maganda po 'yung face-to-face. Nakikita po namin 'yung teacher, nadi-discuss po ng maayos ‘yung mga lessons at ‘yung mga topics po kaysa po nasa internet. ‘Di naman kami nakikita so may tendency na ‘yung iba ay ‘di naman nakikinig," Cuchon said.
She added that she is still adjusting to her new class schedule and dynamics with her classmates. Her professors often give them group activities to loosen up and get to know their classmates.
“Maganda po ito para hindi po kami kinakabahan. Hindi nagkakaroon ng culture shocks," Cuchon said.
Cuchon belongs to the batch of students who started their first year through online classes. This is their first time attending in-person classes.
Last March 17, 2022, TSU also held limited in-person classes for the BS Nursing program laboratory courses and selected engineering courses. Some classes also had face-to-face term exams during the second semester of academic year 2021-2022.
The reopening of campuses is in line with the Institutional COVID-19 Four-Level Alert System Protocols issued on March 2, 2022, which states that limited face-to-face classes are allowed under Alert Level 1. Tarlac Province has been under Alert Level 1 since March 2022.
Moreover, all students and higher education institution (HEI) personnel can now participate in face-to-face classes regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status, according to Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Popoy De Vera in a press conference last August 29, 2022.
“So much has changed over the past seven months as we continue to ensure the safe reopening of classes. Our decision-making is always data-driven, based on science and the advice of experts. Given the high vaccination coverage in the higher education sector, changes in the characteristics and behavior of the virus, classification of the country as low-risk, and benchmarking of policies with other countries, it is now time to change the 2021 policy,” Chair De Vera said.
CHED issued a joint memorandum circular with the Department of Health in December 2021 about the implementation of limited face-to-face classes in higher education.