June 30, 2021 (10:53 PM)

5 min read


PRIORITY COURSE. Academic Vice President (AVP) Dr. Gina Montalan shares that health-allied courses are given priority for limited face-to-face practicum in accordance with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines during the 2nd Town Hall Meeting via Zoom, June 28. Photo credits to Sofia Roena Guan

Following the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) guidelines for the gradual resumption of limited face-to-face learning, Academic Vice President (AVP) Dr. Gina Montalan announced during the second Town Hall Meeting last Monday that health-related degree programs will be given priority among all other courses.

According to the AVP, students with practicum courses under the health-allied degree programs will follow the minimum policies of the regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the gradual reopening of physical classes in higher education institutions.

Dr. Patricia V. Manalaysay, School of Nursing (SON) Dean, shared how the department has been preparing to conduct limited face-to-face delivery by giving their students certifications for vaccination hubs available in the city. 

“We actually have prepared certifications for all our students so that they can actually look for vaccination sites so that if ever they can be accommodated, they can get vaccinated,” Manalaysay said.

However, with the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in Davao City, most medical establishments in the area are currently not entertaining student affiliates until they can ensure the safety of the undergraduates.

“Slowly, if they get vaccinated, we will choose private hospitals. We cannot put our students at risk by putting them in the government-owned hospitals that cater to all COVID-19 cases in the city and neighboring towns,” the SON Dean added.

Although the University is still waiting for pandemic restrictions to ease up, the SON Dean said that efforts are being made to contact various hospitals from other locations such as Tagum and Panabo City. 

Furthermore, Montalan emphasized that students under non-health-related degree programs will not be accommodated in the meantime for the limited face-to-face practicum. Thus, all courses having fieldwork and laboratories are not within the utmost priority list.

“These gradual reopening of classes are just suited to the health-related courses. Those programs apart from our Nursing, we will not get into those unless the regional IATF will say it’s okay,” the AVP said.

School of Engineering and Architecture (SEA) Dean Randell Espina shared that their department is also “open to the possibility” of face-to-face on-the-job training (OJT). 

“We are still complying with the IATF. But we are still open to the possibility of having it on the field. We will still update you on whether we can have face-to-face OJT with various companies,” he said. 

No shortened AY, no bulk assessments 

Considering the feedback from the students that were forwarded to the Office of the Academic Vice President (OAVP), Montalan said that their plans for the next academic year were based on such recommendations.

Montalan then recalled that the shortened second semester last academic year was decided for the well-being of the students. The said semester started in January 2021 instead of November 2020 to provide a “mental health break” for the students.

However, for this academic year, the AVP assured that there “will no longer be a shorter academic year.”

“Prior to the pandemic, we normally [had] 18 weeks of classes per semester. With the start of our first semester, for this academic year, we are still going to have 18 weeks, that is the first difference that we can assure you,” Montalan said. 

Although she admitted that it was uncertain to perfect the conduct of the University’s online instruction, she guaranteed that there will be no bulk assessments.

She also said that they had done a six-day coaching for their instructional designers, emphasizing to the faculty members that the preparatory assessments (PA) must be aligned with the summative assessments (SA).

“We emphasized that in the coaching of our instructional designers, to remind every faculty member that the preparatory assessment activity, its purpose is to identify the additional preparation that the student need to have; to ensure that when a student will now take the final summative assessment, the student will be able to successfully complete the final assessment.

“In the coaching of our instructional designers, we found out that in one program, if in the last school year they were able to provide 16 most essential topics, these most essential topics are now reduced into fewer most essential topics, with only at most three,” she said.

Vaccination plans dependent on nat’l gov’t —Tabora

In the first Town Hall Meeting last June 8, Tabora pointed out that vaccination is necessary for the limited face-to-face classes. Students were expected to be included in the second batch of the acquired vaccines.

Tabora then highlighted that the University was dependent on the national government for vaccinations, and assured that they were collaborating with the latter according to “certain priorities.”

“Government, I think, are doing what they can to acquire vaccinations through international mechanisms, and as these vaccines are acquired, they are distributed according to certain priorities,” he said. 

“We will as much as possible be collaborating with the government in order to help them vaccinate people, according to priorities.” he added.

The Ateneo de Davao University will serve as a vaccination hub starting July 2.

The second Town Hall Meeting, dubbed “Pathways Onward: Atenean Education in the New Normal” was organized by the SAMAHAN Central Board to serve as an open forum for Ateneans to direct their questions and concerns to the administration.

It was attended by University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, AVP Dr. Gina Montalan, school deans, and students.

Issues raised during the conversation were about expectations for the next academic year, methods for cross-enrollment, special orientation for the Daigler20 platform, on-the-job training programs, and review week, among others.

End the silence of the gagged!

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