Students from the UST Junior High School start their first day of face-to-face classes on Thursday, Aug. 25, for the first time amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Francia Denise M. Arizabal/ The Varsitarian)

THE UST Junior High School (JHS) on Thursday welcomed Grade 10 students back on campus for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, starting its transition to full face-to-face (F2F) classes by October.

Each section for Grade 10, which typically has 42 students, was divided into two cohorts (A and B) to ensure public health standards would be adhered to during classes. Only 21 to 22 students will be accommodated per session.

A total of 214 Grade 10 students belonging to cohort A students returned to campus on Thursday, while 212 cohort B students are set to begin in-person classes on Friday.

Grade 9 students are scheduled to join the in-person classes starting Sept. 6, while Grade 7 and Grade 8 students are set to return to campus on Sept. 13 and 15, respectively.

The JHS will implement full face-to-face classes starting Oct. 24.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is requiring schools to have five days of in-person classes a week starting Nov. 2.

For the first quarter, JHS students are required to wear their summer or Type B uniforms. Type A uniforms will be worn from the second to the fourth quarter.

Health protocols

Students were required to submit digital copies of their Covid-19 vaccination cards or negative antigen tests valid for seven days, as well as proofs of flu and tetanus toxoid vaccinations within the first quarter of Academic Year (AY) 2022-2023 through Google Forms disseminated by their respective class advisers.

They must also submit consent forms signed by their parents, allowing them to participate in the F2F classes.

They were also required to present identification cards or printed registration forms and copies of their daily health declaration checklist from the Thomasian Online Medical Services and Support (ThOMedSS) upon entry to the building, and wear medical, KN95 or KF94 masks at all times. 

The JHS will sanction students with ill-fitted or improperly worn masks starting the third week of classes, the JHS principal, Assoc. Prof. Marishirl Tropicales said.

“There will be some kind of deduction in their conduct grade, part of their law abiding (criteria). It was discussed to them by their adviser,” Tropicales told the Varsitarian

Students must dispose of their used face masks outside the University.

“We still don’t have the necessary policies on how to dispose of the used face masks, so might as well ask them to bring them home.,” Tropicales said. 

Students are required to bring health kits that contain extra face masks, alcohol or hand sanitizers, tissue, wet wipes and mosquito repellent lotion.

Health kits will be checked and monitored by their respective class advisers, and the JHS will later sanction students with incomplete health kits. 

“Similarly with other requirements we have to monitor first. We will try to call the attention of the students next time for an important reminder or even a reiteration,” JHS Secretary Anthony Castro told the Varsitarian.

Only four persons will be allowed inside a restroom at a time. While waiting for their turn to use the restroom, other students must form socially distanced queues and follow mobility signs in hallways. 

Janitors will monitor the use of restrooms, while teachers and roving guards will monitor if students are following the mobility signs in the building, Castro said.

Students are advised to bring their own food as the JHS cafeteria will be closed until September, Tropicales said. They are restricted from sharing food, beverages, and utensils with each other.

Students who will experience symptoms of Covid-19, contract the virus and are close contacts of Covid-19-positive people will be prohibited from attending F2F classes and must secure a clearance from the Health Service before returning to school.

“There’s a protocol if ever you are already positive with Covid-19 virus. There’s a 10-day quarantine period, and you have to update your ThOMedSS. Once positive already from Covid-19, then you will be monitored by the medical doctors assigned by the health service, and then you must get a clearance on the tenth day before you go back on site,” Castro added. 

Students who develop symptoms during classes will be sent to a transition room and dismissed from class. 

Classmates of Covid-19-positive students will immediately be considered close contacts. Those who are fully vaccinated will have to observe and monitor for symptoms, while those unvaccinated must undergo home quarantine. 

The UST JHS is planning to conduct major examinations (periodical exams) onsite, Tropicales said.

“We’ll see if we can have it in cohorts also. We have cohort A and cohort B, so probably we can have cohort A in the morning and cohort B in the afternoon,” Tropicales said. 


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