THE UNIVERSITY on Monday announced the suspension of classes and office work until April 11, amid surging Covid-19 cases in the country and the extension of stringent lockdowns in the Greater Manila Area.

According to UST’s announcement, the suspension was made “in order to allow our stakeholders to focus on their health and family concerns in light of the spike in Covid-19 cases.”

UST Secretary General Fr. Jesus Miranda, O.P., told the Varsitarian that academic submissions due this week would “most likely” be moved.

Miranda said respective academic heads would be the ones to communicate with professors and students about the deadlines of such requirements.

The suspension was made after the UST Faculty Union (USTFU) and the UST Central Student Council (CSC) urged the University to impose a weeklong “academic freeze” due to the steady increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in the “NCR-Plus” bubble, which consists of Metro Manila (the National Capital Region or NCR), Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna.

USTFU President Asst. Prof. Emerito Gonzales, in a letter addressed to UST Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., said the break would give students and professors a “much-needed mental and emotional relief from the stress and anxiety induced by the pandemic.”

“The number of Covid-19 cases is not only increasing in number but is now turning into names of people who are very familiar and dear to us – our friends, family members, and colleagues in UST, including our students,” Gonzales added.

UST Central Student Council (CSC) Interim President Robert Gonzales said the week-long suspension would help students “focus on the demands of the pandemic and for recovery.”

“With the rising numbers of casualties due to Covid-19 and implementation of quarantines in most areas of the country, our students and their families have been directly and/or indirectly affected,” he told the Varsitarian.

He urged students to “use this time to recuperate and ask for help if needed [and] recover in all aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health.”

The Philippines has recorded 803,398 Covid-19 cases as of April 5.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The thumbnail of this story was updated on Apr 5, 2021 at 3:37 p.m.


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