Friday, July 15, 2022

Mapúa students assured of safe learning spaces on campus

Mapúa holds limited face-to-face classes in lecture and laboratory courses. Students follow the University's health and safety protocols, which includes wearing of face masks, and observing physical distancing inside the classroom.

Although face-to-face classes have resumed at most schools early this year, some students and parents are still hesitant about in-person learning. One of the possible reasons for their hesitance is continuing, even if diminished, the presence of the COVID-19 virus. In the case of Mapúa University, the leading engineering and technological school in the country, it has established its own set of rigorous community health and safety guidelines to allay any worries that students and their families might have. 

Apart from abiding by the protocols set by the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health, Mapúa ramped up its campus-wide health guidelines to prevent outbreaks from happening on the school grounds. 

“Coming from a two-year stay-at-home period because of the pandemic plus the unpredictability of the virus, we understand the apprehension and concerns of some students and parents when it comes to in-person classes. However, we also know that some students absorb complex educational concepts better by attending face-to-face classes. To address both concerns, we at Mapúa continuously strive to provide safe learning spaces for our students to help them achieve optimal learning. This way we can respond to their educational, physical, and emotional needs,” said Mapúa president and chief executive officer Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea.

To make Mapúa a conducive and secure space for learning, students, as well as the faculty and staff, are enjoined to abide by certain guidelines while on and off campus.

“Mapúa has always had the welfare of its students its number one priority. That is why it has done all the required and necessary COVID-19-related preparations for the start of face-to-face classes. All safety and health protocols set by the national government and the local governments have been complied with,” said Dr. Julius S. Bonifacio, Mapúa’s resident physician.

Even before they step foot in school, students are asked to comply with individual precautionary measures during their personal time. Mapúans are tasked to monitor their health regularly and accomplish the daily health checklist before they report to school. Only students who are fully vaccinated are allowed to participate in limited face-to-face classes. 

The Mapúa Main Library implements reservation-based access to its spaces and resources for students to use for their research and reviews.

Once inside the premises, the students, faculty, and staff are assured of a safe and healthy environment through the university’s routine infection control measures. All areas of the school are sanitized frequently. Restrooms and high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and handles are disinfected every two hours, while the classroom and office furniture and equipment are disinfected at the start and end of the day.  

Common areas, particularly classrooms, lounges, study areas, and offices, are always well-ventilated and equipped with cooling fans to maintain optimal airflow. Air purifiers and air filters are also installed in high-traffic areas to reduce the probability of airborne infections. 

While universities can hold face-to-face classes at full capacity under Alert Level 1, Mapúa only allows 25% to 30% of the total enrolled students per lecture or laboratory class to report on campus. The rest of the class may opt to be in remote learning mode. This system reduces the student population’s risk of exposure to the virus and gives them ample time to rest and recover should any of them fall ill. The university also imposes a “one-entry and one-exit” policy to decrease the probability of students catching (or spreading) any illness outside the school premises. 

If a student gets sick or exhibits COVID-19 symptoms while in school, he is immediately isolated, assessed, and assisted by the Health Services Department. The student will be placed in one of the available isolation rooms, evaluated by the school physician or nurse, and will undergo COVID-19 Rapid Antigen testing. The Health Services Department also ensures that the student is attended to by his family or transferred to a hospital if needed. Once recovered, the student is expected to submit a Fit to Study certificate, medical clearance, and a negative RT-PCR test before being allowed entry into the university. 

Efforts like these not only ensure students’ and their parents’ peace of mind but also assure them that their children’s education and safety are always top-of-mind for the university.

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