Moves start to June 15 due to flu virus threat
Universities urged to upgrade sanitation facilities
The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) announced yesterday that the opening of classes for colleges and universities would be postponed for a week due to concerns on the looming threat of Influenza A (H1N1) in the country.
Chairman Emmanuel Angeles of CHEd said classes will open on Monday, June 15, instead of June 8. Other colleges and universities reset their classes opening to June 16 and 17.
The CHEd’s decision to reset the opening of classes followed the confirmation of Influenza A cases on three students, two of them Japanese nationals, of De La Salle University (DLSU) on Taft Ave., Malate, Manila. De La Salle officials cancelled classes in its main campus as it imposed a ten-day quarantine or up to June 14.
Angeles said the postponement of classes will enable the students, especially those coming from abroad, ample time to check on their health and go on self-quarantine in case of any symptoms of the virus.
Three universities in Metro Manila earlier reset the opening of their classes. The University of Santo Tomas (UST) and University of the Philippines – Manila (UP-M) campus moved their classes opening from June 8 to June 15 while Far Eastern University reset its opening to June 17.
The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) in Intramuros also reset the opening of classes to June 15 as university officials prepared also for the city university’s 44th foundation day celebration on June 18 and 19 with former President Fidel V. Ramos leading the guests.
The Department of Health has reported 33 swine flu cases, but all have shown mild symptoms, according to Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III. The country has the most number of swine flu cases in Southeast Asia according to the World Health Organization.
Angeles said that CHEd is coordinating closely with the Department of Health in monitoring the country’s schools, most especially DLSU’s situation. "Our colleges and universities have many foreign students who are coming from different countries that have swine flu victims," Angeles said.
As this developed, Vice President Noli De Castro said that schools which postponed the opening of their classes due to the threat of influenza A(H1N1) should invest in procuring sanitation products such as hand sanitizers or hand wash and place them in their comfort rooms for the protection of the students.
"After the suspension of their classes, how can they be sure that the threat, the virus, will go away," De Castro said.
The pronouncement came after several top schools in Metro Manila announced that they will postpone the opening of classes after the confirmation of cases of infection of the influenza A(H1N1) virus involving students of De La Salle University.
These schools include University of Asia and the Pacific (UAP), St. Paul University Manila, UST and FEU.
"Students and employees who recently went abroad for summer vacation are advised to go on self-quarantine for 10 days and to visit their personal doctors if influenza-like symptoms manifest within this period," said the UAP.
The UAP clarified, however, that "at present, we have no reported case of Influenza A(H1N1) virus among our students and employees. We took merely as a precaution."
St. Paul University Manila, in a separate statement, said that its president Wynna Marie A. Medina announced the postponement of the opening of classes to June 16.
"The postponement has been decided upon to give the university a chance to set precautionary measures in place," it said.
St. Paul University said that enrolment in the university would continue, and that employees are expected to report for work despite the postponement of opening of classes.