Limited face-to-face classes in the college level should start on Jan. 31 in Alert Level 3 areas, the Commission on Higher Education said in an advisory, citing the government's pandemic response guidelines.
The schedule was based on the recommendation of the Department of Health-Public Health Services Team given the surge in COVID-19 cases, CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III said in a Jan. 10 advisory.
The announcement covers all college and university programs, De Vera said.
Earlier, the CHED prioritized the resumption of limited face-to-face classes of health science programs.
Colleges and universities in Alert Level 2 areas can start limited face-to-face classes "anytime" without the need to apply for a permit to do so at CHED.
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"HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) intending to hold limited face-to-face classes during the COVID-19 pandemic must be willing to assume the responsibilities for the reopening of their campuses based on their capability to comply with the health and safety protocols, to retrofit their facilities, and to get the support of their stakeholders," the commission said.
Since the start of the year, the Philippines has been seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the hyper-contagious Omicron coronavirus variant.
The surge of virus infections has prompted the government to escalate Metro Manila and nearby provinces to Alert Level 3 from Alert Level 2 until Jan. 15.
On Tuesday, the Philippines crossed the 3 million mark in total COVID-19 cases as it reported 28,007 more infections,