FILE PHOTO (Photo by Francia Denise M. Arizabal/ The Varsitarian)

THE UNIVERSITY is considering four factors in determining whether to suspend classes due to bad weather, the Office of the Secretary General (OSG) said.

According to Emmanuel Batulan, the executive assistant to the secretary general, the factors for announcing class suspensions include the following: the daily weather bulletin, the academic calendar, the right balance between in-person and virtual classes, and the work arrangements of university staff and officials.

“We also closely assess the current conditions within our campus and in its immediate vicinity to ensure the safety and well-being of our University community while minimizing disruptions to learning,” Batulan told the Varsitarian in an email interview.

The University also complies with suspensions ordered by the city government of Manila or the national government and consequently issues its own announcements, often accompanied by information on whether work will also be suspended.

If there is no announcement from authorities, the University has the option of shifting to online classes by using the enriched virtual mode (EVM) of instructional delivery,” Batulan said.

“This (EVM) will help mitigate the reduction in the number of school days within the academic year due to class suspensions,” he said. “Thus, academic staff and students are expected to be prepared to immediately shift to EVM when the situation calls for it.”

The collegiate academic calendar must have a minimum of 18 weeks per regular semester and six weeks for the special term. The Christmas vacation and semestral breaks are not taken into account.

Class days include examination days, which may be subject to suspension due to natural or human-induced factors.

As of posting time, there have been six instances of class suspensions since Aug. 3, the opening of the academic year.

These suspensions were mainly due to inclement weather. Classes were suspended on Sept. 22 due to poor air quality.

The University also takes into consideration inputs from the Office of the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and the Human Resource Department when deciding on class suspensions or changes to work arrangements.

Regarding shifting to asynchronous classes, Batulan said academic staff should take into account factors such as the total number of school days, potential power interruptions, and the availability of stable internet connectivity.

If class suspensions are not declared, students are encouraged to inform their professors if they will be absent or are running late, Batulan said.

“Consistent with our guiding principles of dialogue, flexibility, and accessibility, students and academic staff are expected to communicate concerns that may prevent them from attending classes or coming to class on time,” he said.

Batulan said students and academic staff should anticipate potential challenges to avoid being marked late in case in-person classes proceed despite heavy rains.

These factors have been thoroughly reviewed by UST officials, as stated in a circular dated Aug. 31, 2022, which provided guidelines for class suspensions during inclement weather. Ernest Martin G. Tuazon


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