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

THE UNIVERSITY has released a continuity plan for hybrid instruction as the country continues to grapple with extreme heat that has forced schools to suspend in-person classes until the middle of the month.

In a memorandum dated April 30, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Cheryl Peralta said UST would push through with the hybrid mode of instruction with mitigation measures to protect students and University staff. 

“We continue with hybrid instruction (onsite and online classes, as scheduled) unless the government mandates the suspension of face-to-face (onsite) classes for all schools (including private institutions),” the memorandum read.

“We will continue monitoring the Pagasa Highest Heat Index computed and forecast data in consultation with our medical experts to determine when the predicted heat index will require everyone to stay home, with or without government announcements,” it continued.

The Office of the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs advised faculty with courses involving outdoor and strenuous physical activities, such as PATHFIT and ROTC, to adjust their plans according to the expected heat index.

Peralta has also instructed academic units to prepare for a potential shift to the enriched virtual mode of instruction (EVM) by creating new learning materials that align effectively with the intended learning outcomes.

If the suspension of in-person classes coincides with scheduled high-stakes assessments, the examinations should be rescheduled to the next available date, as determined by the respective academic units.

In cases where there are already multiple days of suspended onsite classes, University- and unit-level officials will continually assess the situation and determine how to assist students in completing their course requirements and finishing the term.

Classes in UST shifted to EVM from April 24 to 26, in line with the City Government of Manila’s suspension of face-to-face classes due to forecasts of extreme heat.

UST briefly returned to a hybrid mode of instruction on April 27 but shifted back to the enriched virtual mode (EVM) on April 29 and 30. This change was made in anticipation of a transport strike that could “constrain the implementation of our (UST) mitigation measures addressing the high heat index,”

UST resumed the hybrid mode of instruction on May 2. 

Citing to high temperatures across the country, Peralta recommended that students and academic staff commute to and from UST during cooler hours, specifically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and stay indoors in air-conditioned facilities during breaks.

The Office of the Secretary General announced that students are permitted to use the Miguel de Benavides Library and unoccupied classrooms during breaks. 

“Students are strongly encouraged to arrive in campus early and are welcome to stay in the aforementioned facilities until the afternoon to minimize the risk of being exposed to extreme heat when traveling home,” the OSG advisory posted on May 1 read.

On April 24, the heat index in Metro Manila peaked at 46°C, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Pagasa categorizes temperatures between 42 to 51°C as “dangerous,” as they can lead to heat-related illnesses such as cramps, exhaustion, and heat stroke.

The UST Health Service recommends rescheduling or canceling all outdoor and strenuous physical activities held in non-airconditioned facilities when heat indices exceed 42°C.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Cheryl Peralta earlier told the Varsitarian that in-person classes would continue as scheduled in UST as facilities were adequately prepared to accommodate students even amid exceptionally hot weather.

“We (OVRAA and OSG) agreed that, considering our classes are conducted in airconditioned facilities, teachers and students can safely and comfortably continue onsite classes as scheduled,” she said. 

Classes in several schools in Manila, like De La Salle University and Polytechnic University of the Philippines, have been called off until mid-May in anticipation of persistent extreme heat, with the exception of some laboratory and physical education classes. 


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.