/ 1 March 2021

THE UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas will hold limited face-to-face classes for medical and allied health programs in March 2021, according to the Commission on Higher Education and some school officials.

CHED regional supervisor Victor Castelo said that the university complied with the agency’s guidelines and protocols.

“Ang kanilang target date is March 2021. ‘Yun po ang kanilang application. Based on the documents submitted to CHED,” Castelo said.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Professor Cheryl Peralta said that the university crafted health protocols to ensure the safety of students and faculty members during face-to-face classes.

“At the moment they are already starting with their 14-day quarantine period and then they will have to undergo RT-PCR testing, and some final orientations. But most of them are already settled in their dormitories around the university kasi alam nga nila na anytime classes can start,” Peralta said.

Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso allowed UST to conduct limited face-to-face classes following a meeting with university officials to discuss health and safety protocols.

The university’s occupancy capacity and  contingency plans for students, faculty or staff who will show Covid19 symptoms were also tackled.

On Friday, February 26, Domagoso, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuña-Pangan and representatives from CHED, the Department of Health and Inter-agency Task Force visited UST.

Peralta said that 94 percent of the 480 medicine students expressed willingness to participate in face-to-face classes.

“They really recognize that face-to-face encounters with patients are very important in this profession,” she added.

The students will be distributed in different buildings in the university including the St. Martin de Porres, St. Raymund de Peñafort facilities, and UST Hospital.

Peralta said that in-person classes for the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery would serve as a benchmark in preparation for other health programs in the university.

“UST is also ready to submit its application to hold internship programs for medical technology, physical therapy and nursing courses,” she said.

Dr. Ma. Lourdes Maglinao, FMS dean,  said students and faculty members would be kept “safe beyond acceptable standards” while on campus.