COVID-19 prevention, control and mitigation in schools and communities (Part IV)

By Dr. Rex Casiple

On March 30, 2020 the Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH WV CHD) reported an increase in COVID-19 cases in the region to 16. As of March 30, 2020, the number of cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines increased to 1,418 and the number of confirmed deaths increased to 71. Globally, as of March 30, 2020, the number infection cases increased to 713,171 and the number of deaths increased to 33,597.

In the past few days during the suspension of classes due to COVID-19, I would like to commend some of the public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) in the region who have done their share to support our front liners in fighting the corona virus.

The Capiz State University (CAPSU) produced face shields for health workers, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and all CAPSU front liners. The ISAT University produced face masks to help our front liners in the field. According to the university president, aside from face masks, there were other ongoing initiatives of the University that include the design and production of aerosol box for intubation and face shields which are currently much needed in the ground.

The University of Antique faculty and staff made improvised personal protective equipment for the front liners. And the Southland College in Kabankalan Negros Occidental also shared their parts by making face shields for the front liners. There were some other public and private HEIs in the Region not mentioned here who have made their share in one way or the other in helping our front liners. Thank you!

In this time of crisis some students and parents who were unable to pay tuition and other fees were appealing to private higher education institutions (PHEIs) for consideration. In line with this, CHED urged PHEIs to address these concerns in collection of tuition and miscellaneous fees without undermining the prompt payment of salaries of their faculty and other school personnel. This may include not collecting tuition fees during the 30 day quarantine period, suspending late payment penalties and allowing payment on staggered basis.

All higher education institutions (HEIs) shall regularly inform and update the CHED thru the CHED Regional Office (CHEDRO) on activities and developments in their campuses for any advice and support as needed.

Effective March 17, 2020 to April 13, 2020, an enhanced community quarantine was imposed in the entire Luzon. Enhanced community quarantine entails strict implementation of home quarantine, suspension of transport services, regulation of provision of food and essential health services and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to ensure enforcement of quarantine procedures.

In other places of the country outside of Luzon, local government units have the discretion to suspend classes within its respective jurisdiction, depending on the threat posed by COVID-19, provided that measures and arrangements are in place to allow the students to continue fulfilling their requirements.

Even during the enhanced community quarantine caused by the COVID -19, the CHED and the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education(UniFAST) continue the release of funds for the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) program to grantees of some state colleges and universities (SUCs) and CHED recognized  local colleges in the region for academic year  2019-2020.

On CHED scholarship programs students no longer need to submit their application at the CHED Regional Office. The application may be submitted through or they may refer to on or before May 31, 2020. All HEIs were requested to assist CHED in informing the students.