In an official memorandum from Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. released earlier this noon, the University President announced that the Jacinto Campus will be reopened for faculty members who are not yet online-ready. He further assured the faculty that the University would provide appropriate workspaces and that COVID-19 precautionary measures will be “strictly enforced”.
In the memo, Tabora cited a survey conducted by the University Research Council (URC) on the Use of Online Teaching Platform by the AdDU Teachers (Summer 2019-2020) which shows that a minority of faculty members neither have a place at home where they can deliver their online classes without being substantially disturbed nor have sufficient access to the internet for them to deliver their online courses.
“In order to guarantee the integrity of the online delivery, permission for these teachers to work from home will be rescinded. They shall be asked to report for work in the Jacinto campus where there is sufficient quiet and internet access is strong,” the memo read.
It further stated that, while the External Vice President (EVP) and the Physical Plant Office (PPO) will be preparing the necessary workspaces, only the Jacinto campus will be reopened as “the budget for electricity and maintenance workers was significantly reduced”.
The Knights Table will also be allowed to operate and COVID-19 precautionary measures such as physical distancing, hand washing, cough and sneezing etiquette, and temperature checks, will be strictly observed.
However, Tabora emphasized that “it shall be forbidden to bring persons under 21 to the campus including faculty members’ children”, in compliance with the city’s COVID-19 protocols.
College Mathematics professor Dr. Rogelio Rasay III praised the efforts of the University for providing a good working environment for the faculty members.
“It shows how committed the University is in providing quality online education – assisting and assuring that teachers have the quality of working conditions that they need,” he said.
The University President also assured the faculty that if working from home becomes impossible, then they can join the group in the Jacinto Campus.
Meanwhile, incoming third-year BS Accountancy student Cris Gabriel Maquiso suggested in an interview with Atenews that students who suffer the same difficulty with the teachers should also be permitted to enter the university.
“There are students man from Davao who are 21 above na mahina rin internet connection nila so why not let them use also the strong wifi of the school and other facilities at their own discretion provided that they will also practice the COVID-19 precautionary measures established by the University?” he said.
“But this does not mean na mag face to face class but if the admin can provide workspaces for the teachers, why not also provide study spaces for the students who also need a good working environment?” Maquiso Added.
Maquiso also remarked that some students were not able to maximize the benefits of the Home Prepaid Wifi units provided by the University. Aside from the fact that some students live in areas with poor signal, the 10Gb data that came for free upon receipt of the said devices lasted only for a week, compelling students to allot additional expenses for the subsequent prepaid load.
“Mahal kaayo magpaload. Some students find it too expensive to pay regular charges for prepaid data promos,” he said.
With this, Maquiso suggested that the University could explore providing load credits which will be added to the students’ account balance to be paid after the semester.
“The University may shoulder the internet charges or data plans for now, and the expenses could somehow be accrued and paid at the end of the year or the semester,” he said.
However, SAMAHAN President Renz Allan Lacorte reminded the students that, despite some being above 21, they are still governed by existing rules and laws such as Commission on Higher Education (CHED) guidelines which are relative to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) policies.
“The SAMAHAN is closely talking with Fr. Joel and the admin, and we are with our schoolmates in AdDU in seeking for clearance or clear guidelines re return to campus, compliant to the minimum health protocols and existing quarantine guidelines,” Lacorte shared.
“As of today, Malacanang announced that mass gatherings in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in MGCQ areas are now allowed, so we are hopeful that when Davao City will ease to MGCQ from GCQ, we will expect development on return to campus protocols for our students,” he added.