By Laurd Menhard B. Salen in Manila
The oldest and one of the largest universities in the Philippines has announced that it will continue online classes until the end of the second term as a precautionary measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Founded in 1611, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the capital Manila has 45,000 students.
According to an advisory from the Office of the Secretary-General, online classes for graduating students will be from April 20 to May 16.
Online classes for undergraduate students will be from April 20 until May 23.
Final exams for graduating students will start from May 18 and end on May 23 while final exams for undergraduate students will be from May 25 to 30.
“Due to the uncertainty of the quarantine period and the health risks of resuming classes while still at the height of the pandemic, the University decided to undertake the most practical step to still facilitate student learning amidst all the challenges that may come our way,” the advisory read.
Undergraduate students will receive a final numerical grade ranging from 1.0 to 3.0 only, while the applicable passing grade range will be used for students in the graduate level.
A grade of INP or in progress will be given to students who are at risk of failing or unable to submit one or more of the requirements within the term. Graduating students with INP will not be eligible for graduation.
The memorandum also said the Office of the Vice-Rector for Finance would soon release guidelines for a partial refund of laboratory fees, miscellaneous and other fees.
All non-curricular in-campus and off-campus activities are suspended until the end of the term while curricular off-campus activities will be replaced with alternative activities online.
Administrative and academic officials will continue to observe work-from-home arrangements.
Work in the university will resume only when quarantine regulations allow, the advisory said.
On April 7, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to extend the quarantine until April 30, to further contain the spread Covid-19.
The Philippines has 4195 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 221 deaths.
The university’s hospital has admitted14 patients with Covid-19, aged between 22 and 80, reports The Varsitarian. Three of the confirmed cases have died, while one has recovered and 10 are still being monitored.
The Varsitarian is the university’s official student newspaper, founded in 1928 and produced mostly by journalism students.