The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila will be opening Academic Year 2020-2021 this August, but will allow only a limited number of students and staff to return to campus premises.
University President Emmanuel Leyco announces that PLM will definitely reopen classes by August, but will employ flexible/blended learning that will see some lectures shift towards virtual learning strategies to adapt to the “new normal” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The flexible approach is necessary as internal studies showed that classrooms in the Intramuros campus can only accommodate less than 50% of the student population at a time, in compliance with the physical distancing guidelines that require a distance of six feet between people.
President Leyco earlier said that online delivery systems will become the new norm among academic institutions globally. Harvard and other American universities have started offering online programs. PLM is also exploring how to bring these digital lectures even to students without access to gadgets or stable internet connection at home.
“Our utmost priority is to let students continue learning. While it may not be possible to return to the usual classroom setup, we are looking for ways for uninterrupted schooling even as students stay inside their homes due to the threat of COVID-19. We are now focusing the school’s resources to boost our virtual capability and sustain accessible but quality education during this public health crisis,” President Leyco said.
The Commission on Higher Education has also recognized the importance of flexible learning amid limitations in school-based classes due to social distancing guidelines. CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera III has said that universities are expected to use May and June to craft plans for this shift, as well as for the training of teachers in adopting flexible learning techniques.
University officials are in the middle of online discussions to prepare for the resumption of classes. Courses reliant on laboratory training may implement shifting schedules to allow students to hold hands-on sessions, while general education lectures are being eyed to transfer to online learning platforms. E-learning may also apply to graduate school as well as social science courses. The protocols will be announced once the details are finalized.
Existing guidelines prohibit face-to-face classes in both the enhanced community quarantine and general community quarantine scenarios.
Meanwhile, administrative staff are now retrofitting the campus, with plans to install foot baths and disinfection systems in entry and exit points to prevent infections once faculty, staff, and students are eventually allowed to return to school.
PLM’s annual budget is also being reassessed to provide for investments in technology for blended learning. Projects meant for 2020 which have not been started will be discontinued to free up funding for more pressing needs, President Leyco added. Meanwhile, the salaries of regular as well as contractual PLM employees have been sustained throughout the two-month quarantine period.
PLM is a premier public university which has produced graduates who have contributed to nation-building since 1965. For more info, visit plm.edu.ph #