Complying with its strict academic year schedule, the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Office of the Academic Vice President (AVP) dismissed health break proposals amidst the rising cases of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant threat.
In a memorandum released on Thursday by the AVP, they stated that a health break would be unnecessary because the learning system is already “designed to allow students, under any circumstance brought by this pandemic, to continue learning and to cope up with the sundry challenges that come with it.”
Additionally, they expressed that whoever was feeling sick, whether a faculty member or a student, must inform in advance according to the school protocols; thus, “considerations” will be granted for the impending backlogs of the concerned students.
The AVP cited that a possible health break for a week or two will produce “tighter schedules” for students in completing the required courses’ tasks, including the submission of grades for graduating and non-graduating students, hence delaying the online graduation and causing conflict on the opening of summer classes respectively.
Upon release, the students conveyed their dissatisfaction with the decision on social media, specifically Twitter.
Seeing the struggles of the Ateneans in social media, an Accountancy freshman said that the only path to take to ensure the mental and physical welfare of the students is for the administration to impose a health break.
“Conceded, there will be trade-offs on their part like date adjustments and delays, but I don’t think they should prioritize these concerns at the expense of the welfare of both teachers and students alike,” they said.
They further emphasized that considerations such as asynchronous classes and leeways do not eradicate the fact that students must still comply with their missed activities.
“At worst, this burden will perpetuate the stress and burnout of students, considering that their backlogs have now piled up once they recover,” they added.
Sharing the same thoughts, a first-year Industrial Engineering shared that the extended deadline option is useless.
“Yes, it is extended, and it only means the student should work double time because the deadlines might be moved, but the number of activities is continuously increasing,” he said.
The Industrial Engineering freshman further said that the students and teachers, being left without a choice, would work their bodies off to meet the deadlines.
“It is physically unhealthy and mentally draining for everyone, but since they don’t have a choice, they can’t do anything about it,” he said.
He worried that having no break might lead to more severe problems like hospitalization, suicides, and deaths.
Furthermore, a Psychology freshman stressed that the university has no compassion regarding the students and the faculty as they only care for their “stupid” schedule and profits than the lives of their students and faculty.
The Psychology student emphasized that it is not enough to “file a sick leave” for the employees or “send an excuse letter” for the students.
“Health break is necessary because, with this, we can ease the health burden caused by the surge of COVID-19 cases to the physical and mental well-being of the university personnel and students of the university,” he said.
Supplementing assurance with the alternative provided by the AVP, SAMAHAN released a memorandum containing mechanisms for the affected students in acquiring “considerations” via their Facebook and Twitter pages.