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How COVID-19 changed the academic calendar of colleges and universities in the Philippines

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All around the world, drastic measures have been put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus. As we are yet to reach the peak of its outbreak in the country, academics is no less one of the most impacted sectors of the pandemic.

UPDATE: The Department of Education (DepEd) has announced that there will be no face-to-face classes until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available in the Philippines.

In response to this, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has permitted most higher education institutions or HEIs such as colleges and universities to end the academic year earlier than scheduled as all classes and school activities were discontinued due to the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine in the whole island of Luzon which will last until 11:59PM of April 30.

According to the government agency, educational institutions may establish flexible and alternative learning arrangements that will best fit their students’ need while enabling completion of academic requirements if they have the means to do so. The commission also discourages holding in-person graduation rites as part of mass gathering restriction and social distancing measures.

Various institutions have already relied on digital learning to ensure continuity of education amid the crisis. However, the CHED emphasized that students who cannot attend online classes shall be allowed to finish the academic curriculum once the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is over.

Here are the most important points under CHED’s Advisory No. 6

If our school uses the old academic calendar from June to May, what will happen to the unfinished semester resulting from the ECQ?

The school is allowed to end the current semester, trimester, quarter or equivalent period by April 30, 2020 through alternative learning options.

I’m a graduating student, will I still be able to graduate on time?

As of now, face-to-face graduation ceremonies are discouraged to avoid close contact with people as preventive measure for COVID-19. 

We are using the new calendar year from August to July, are we going to continue our classes after the ECQ?

Colleges and universities using the new academic year are permitted to extend the semester for one month after the ECQ is lifted.

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Can we still continue with our summer classes?

If the semester is extended (see previous answer), summer classes may be allowed for the following students:

1.) Graduating students,
2.) Students with summer class scheduled by the academe, and
3.) Students under graduate studies.

Nonetheless, strict social distancing must still be implemented. 

How can we meet the internship and on-the-job training requirements of our curriculum? 

We highly promote providing flexible learning schemes during the ECQ. Institutions are highly encouraged to provide alternative methods of learning such as self-study activities, electronic or non-electronic methods, scenario-based problems, and others as substitute for the required hours in the students’ curriculum. 

If I already started my OJT before the ECQ, will the hours be credited by my school?

The total training hours earned before the ECQ shall be fully credited by your institution. 

Meanwhile in other countries, universities are seeing the possibility of suspension of in-person classes until 2021.  

As of April 15, the Philippines has reported a total of 5,453 confirmed cases, 349 deaths surpassed by 353 recoveries. 

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