The University of the Philippines is eyeing limited physical classes next semester, pending approval from the national government. (Photo: Gian Carlo Librojo, DZUP)

The University of the Philippines (UP) is eyeing the conduct of limited physical classes next semester and midyear term, pending an approval from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the UP Office of the Student Regent (OSR) said Thursday, October 29.

Such a setup is being heavily considered for courses “needed or required for graduation where no alternative can be taken.”

“Since UP’s academic units redesigned their programs in such a way that laboratory courses were moved to the Second Semester AY2020-2021, the same units will have to determine whether there are alternatives to these courses,” the OSR said quoting a report from the UP Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA).

“If there are none, plans for possible exemption from remote learning and clearance to proceed should have been obtained by mid-December 2020,” the OVPAA report said.

UP also extended the duration of the second semester for academic year 2020-2021 and Midyear 2021 as compared to the present semester and previous Midyear. According to the OSR, the Presidential Advisory Council presented an updated academic calendar which includes a period for course pack distribution, class pre-orientation, reading break, and finals period.

Classes for the next semester in the University are set to start on February 1, 2021 and end on May 15, 2021. For the midyear term, classes are expected to begin on June 7, 2021 and conclude on July 24, 2020. Reading breaks were initially scheduled on March 25-31, 2021 for the second semester of the current academic year and July 1-3, 2021 for Midyear 2021.

Meanwhile, the OSR continued to raise concerns of the students. “We asserted that a thorough reassessment and recalibration, with proper sectoral consultations, of the university’s plans for this academic year shall immediately take place to guide UP on how it will proceed with the remainder of the academic year,” it said.

“We need academic and workload ease for our constituents due to the burnout massively experienced by so many due to the remote learning set-up insisted by UP. The safety of the students who will participate in on-ground classes should be given utmost importance where our facilities and campuses shall be ready with health protocols in place,” it added.

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