MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) called on state universities and colleges to prepare for possible community-level transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

In a memorandum order released on Wednesday, March 10, CHED chairman Prospero de Vera III reiterated that schools should have protocols in place to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus within the campus in coordination with the Department of Health.

These include creating screening procedures for symptomatic students, faculty, staff and administrators; preparing health clinics to accommodate and isolate patients potentially infected with the novel coronavirus; and performing decontamination and disinfection of buildings in schools.

President Rodrigo Duterte suspended classes in all levels in Metro Manila from March 10 to 14 following the spike of confirmed cases in the Philppines.

Schools are advised to coordinate with their affiliated training establishments for any adjustment on training hours; and consider alternative modes for on-the-job training, practicum and internships.

But based on the assessment in their areas, all schools should be flexible in adjusting the academic calendar, foregoing other curricular activities for the semester and exercising discretion to possibly postpone graduation ceremonies.

To stay updated on news, advisories, and explainers, check out our special coverage page, “Novel Coronavirus Outbreak.”

CHED also advised schools to report the status of their students, faculty and staff. These include those who are now abroad, specially in areas affected by the virus.

Identified cases of COVID-19 within the campus should immediately be coordinated with DOH regional office or local government offices.

“All plans and decisions by the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) should be focused on ensuring the safety of all students, faculty, staff and administrators,” CHED added in its memorandum. –