Nearly two years into the pandemic, students and teachers alike are still struggling their way through online classes. Many are exhausted from the current schooling setup, and even more are calling for face-to-face classes, even if it’s limited. Last year, the Commission and Higher Education (CHED) announced limited F2F classes by January. But with the surge of active cases across the country, everyone’s expecting this testing period to be postponed for the safety of everyone involved. However, CHED announced otherwise, and netizens are not pleased.
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) January 11, 2022
In a since-deleted post, the Facebook page of CHED announced that areas under Alert Level 3 will begin the implementation of face-to-face classes for all programs of higher educational institutions (HEIs) starting 31 January 2022, Monday. For areas under Alert Level 2, HEIs are allowed to start limited face-to-face classes anytime.
Where was this greenlight months ago?
Netizens are expressing their disappointment, as this F2F classes program could not have come at a worse time. The country is currently facing over 180,000 active cases, compared to the lower numbers from the last quarter of 2021.
let’s all be honest, online classes are sh*t but bringing back limited f2f classes in the middle of covid cases rising again lmao CHED what an absolute joke
— dawn (@heyaurorarose) January 11, 2022
Tf ched we’ve been asking for face to face noong 9k actives cases palang but now 180k active cases, saka ka magpapa face to face?
— miene (@wonlovrr) January 11, 2022
What is the plan?
While this announcement would’ve been met with cheers a few months ago, that’s not the case now, when the number of active cases keeps on rising and rising due to the spread of the Omicron variant. Netizens are asking, is there a plan in place to keep students, teachers, and everyone involved protected from the virus?
When youth called for #LigtasNaBalikEskwela, we expect the government to act on the Roadmap presented by various student formations. Looking at this advisory, it’s clear that CHED has failed to heed the demands of the youth. This is not the Balik-Eskwela we want, CHED do better! https://t.co/IOoLQIgFQb
— Tie Santos (@TieroneSantos) January 11, 2022
Pinoys cope with memes
As usual, Filipino netizens turn to creating memes to poke fun at the situation. This dark humor is clicking with a lot of people.
CHED really said: pic.twitter.com/aw6zHKQBBt
— saint (@chikensken) January 11, 2022
The government is trying to get us all killed. If I die young, I’m blaming CHED idc pic.twitter.com/r0EMDhqWZM
— Sai (@Sai0340) January 11, 2022
Waterproof *and* COVID-proof?
College students be like:
— iam_StudNars #LetLeniLead2022 #KayaKayLeni (@SNnowRNlater) January 12, 2022
Pre-pandemic college students often joke that they were waterproof, often pushed to go to their classes on campus despite heavy rainstorms and class cancellations on lower levels. Meanwhile, college students during the pandemic are now joking that aside from being waterproof, they’re now also COVID-proof.
Teachers are also sick and exhausted
Once again, it’s not just students who are tired from this learning situation. Teachers are just as, if not more, exhausted. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) conducted a survey among 8,007 teachers in Metro Manila (and counting), and they have found that over 50% are experiencing flu-like symptoms. Despite the majority of teachers being ill, the survey found that 84.7% of the respondents are still actually teaching and doing their duties. Now, ACT is officially calling for a health break, following a 90.8% consensus among respondents for time for recuperation.
Health or academic breaks are up to HEIs
CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera says it’s up to higher education institutions to decide if they want to declare “health or academic breaks” amid rising #COVID19 cases. | via @jaehwabernardo pic.twitter.com/HWWH49VR5z
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) January 11, 2022
Despite this call, the institution has not said anything thus far about any breaks. In fact, their latest announcement was the resumption of limited F2F classes., which was met with backlash.
According to CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera, the individual HEIs — so the board administration of colleges and universities — would be the final deciding body on whether students, teachers, and education sector workers would get a health or academic break. So students and teachers may take up their requests to their respective administrations.
Expecting for another statement release re this @PhCHED
— Izel Praise (@izelxfernandez) January 11, 2022
CHED’s announcement has now been removed from their Facebook page. So it’s possible that they may issue another statement retracting their previous announcement or postponing the implementation of F2F classes. Students and teachers alike would need to keep their eyes peeled if a Ligtas Na Balik-Eskwela would be made possible amid this worsening surge of cases.
Do you think we’re ready for face-to-face classes?