San Fernando to re-open school for limited face-to-face classes

City of San Fernando Mayor Edwin “EdSa” Santiago is taking the bold step of re-opening schools amidst the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic.

The Local Government has allowed Our Lady of Fatima University to gradually re-open its campus for limited face-to-face classes.

“Nag back-to-work at back-to-business na tayo. Now we are trying to go back-to-school but with compliance to the minimum health protocols and Commission on Higher Education standards. We are the first LGU in Central Luzon to re-open and isa itong malaking kontribusyon sa siyudad at national government dahil dapat continuous pa rin ang pagpo-produce natin ng graduates lalo na sa programa ng medicine at science na siyang pinaka-kailangan natin ngayong mga pandemya,” Santiago said.

The LGU awarded OLFU a Certificate of Compliance after it successfully retrofitted its campus and complied with the Minimum Public Health Standards and safety protocols set by the LGU.

The CHED regional office also gave the university the authority to re-open after OLFU passed CHED’s qualifications stated in the Joint Memorandum Circular 2021-001 or the “Guidelines on the Gradual Re-opening of Campuses of Higher Educational Institutions for Limited Face-To-Face Classes During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

As per the JMC, only selected health-related degree programs will be allowed, mainly Medicine, Nursing, Medical Technology/Medical Laboratory Science, Midwifery, Physical Therapy, and Public Health.

“We want to prioritize health-related degree programs because they are regarded as vital in providing additional manpower support in the health system during this pandemic. And OLFU will be the first university in the whole Region III to re-open for limited face-to-face classes and siya din ang magiging model ng iba pang Higer Educational Institutions,” Dr. Maria Teresita M. Semana, Director of CHED Region III explained.

OLFU President Dr. Caroline Marian S. Enriquez said they’ll start re-opening Nursing, MedTech, and PT programs towards the last week of the semester.

“We will be opening our Nursing program limited to about 50 students, MedTech will have 100 students, and PT, 14 students. Hindi sabay-sabay na magbubukas ito, but gradually,” Enriquez remarked.

“Voluntary din sa mga estudyante ang pagpasok sa eskwelahan. They have options to attend the face-to-face classes or go online. Dahil may qualifier din po tayo, only 20 years old and above can go to the campus,” she added.

Enriquez also assured the students and parents of quality education for OLFU students without compromising their health and safety.

“We have been doing our best to follow the protocols of the LGU, CHED, and the IATF [Inter-Agency task Force]. Everything is done correctly and safely,” Enriquez remarked. 

Also present in the activity were Councilor Nelson G. Lingat, Chairperson on Committee on Health and Sanitation; Raymond Del Rosario, City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Officer; Attorney Gloria City College of San Fernando Officer-in-Charge and President of the Association of Local Universities and Colleges; OLFU Executive Vice President Don August Santos; CHED Education Supervisors; and OLFU college deans.