Constituent Universities’ Weekly Bulletin (Week 1)
(Week 1 | Updates as of 24 March 2020)
One deceased, 2 tested negative for COVID-19 among UPD faculty
Four faculty members of UP Diliman registered as afflicted, person under investigation (PUI), and under monitoring for coming in from travel from a COVID-19-infested country or for being in direct contact with a COVID-19 patient.
One went straight to San Lazaro Hospital upon arrival in Manila on March 12, 2020 for a checkup after traveling to France to attend an academic conference. The faculty member tested positive and was confined in a medical quarantine facility, eventually passing away from complications from the disease.
Two were declared persons under investigation for showing symptoms after attending an academic conference in Japan. Tests on them revealed negative results.
Another faculty member was declared person under monitoring (PUM) after coming in direct contact with an individual with COVID-19.
Task force, measures set vs COVID-19
The UP Diliman administration created a task force on March 8, 2020 to draw up preventive measures and coping mechanisms on COVID-19 for students, faculty members, researchers, staff, and the UPD residents.
Headed by Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, the task force is composed of officials and experts from the offices of the vice chancellors for academic, community, and student affairs, and for research and development; the University Registrar, Information Office, Health Service, the Office of Community Relations, Computerized Registration System; the colleges of Science, Law, and Social Sciences and Philosophy; the Institute for Small Scale Industries; and the University Student Council.
UPD set out to track all faculty members with travel history outside the Philippines in the 14 days before the community quarantine.
It adopted guidelines and mechanisms on where to go and what to do in case an individual or a dormer shows symptoms.
An information dissemination platform, upd.edu.ph/covid-19-advisory, was created. Information materials were also posted on the UPD website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. Smart Infocast was used for constituents who do not have access to the Internet.
Earlier, Nemenzo addressed the community a number of times through published and broadcasted statements, one immediately after the declaration of enhanced community quarantine of the National Capital Region on March 17, 2020, briefing the latter on the campus situation and actions.
Calls for donations issued for UP Diliman’s student volunteers, affected residents, and UPHS
Calls for donation have been made by UP Diliman on behalf of student volunteers for donations for affected campus residents; and by the UP Diliman Health Service for personal protective equipment (PPEs).
Alternatives proposed in UP Diliman in wake of class suspensions
UP Diliman identified several platforms such as the UPD Virtual Learning Environment (UVLE), Zoom, Google Classroom, and Microsoft Office as remote modes of learning in lieu of regular classes.
Colleges were asked to consider, evaluate, and suggest open-source versions as alternatives for their students.
Online classes endorsed earlier in lieu of regular classes were suspended along with regular classes in consideration of students without proper Internet and computer access.
UP Los Baños
UPLB brings stranded student-dormers home
The declaration of enhanced community quarantine over Luzon left many UP Los Baños (UPLB) students stranded in their dormitories, with no way to go back home.
The UPLB Administration established a system wherein parents of stranded UP dormers are contacted first for consent and to confirm address. The students are then ferried to their respective municipal halls at pre-arranged drop-off times, with the parents expected to be physically present receive their child. UPLB officials accompanying the students take pictures of the students with their parents to document that they are safe and have been delivered home without harm.
However, there is still a substantial number of stranded UPLB dormers still on-campus. As of March 21, 2020, there are still 517 students in the University dorms.
More is being done to help support and care for these remaining UPLB students. To find out, read here: SOS for stranded students
UPLB sends out a call for help for its student dormers
UP Los Baños currently has 106 student dorm-residents on campus, including international graduate students. Along with students staying in other housing facilities of partner institutions within campus, such as DMST, FNP, NCPC, YMCA and in SEARCA (International Graduate Students), a total of 623 students are staying in the UPLB dorms.
With the enhanced community quarantine, the normal canteens, cafeterias and eating places for these students have been closed, leaving the students with no food. The UPLB Administration sent out a call for donations to supply the UPLB students with food—at least P1.9 million a week for three meals a day for students inside and even outside the campus, who number over 900. Aside from food, students are also in need of vitamin C supplements to boost their immune system and protect their health.
UP Open University
UPOU launches portal for University COVID-19 updates
Inspired by the UP System’s portal for its COVID-19 updates, the UP Open University (UPOU) launched its own web portal on March 24.
It contains the updates from the UP System and UPOU’s own advisories, announcements, memoranda, and news, as well as emergency numbers that can be contacted by the community. Apart from the web portal, UPOU also sends out pertinent information to its community via email, social media, and MyPortal.
As early as March 9, UPOU has posted information materials on open and distance e-learning as an alternative to classroom-based education. And when there was a call to shift to online modes of education because of class suspensions due to the COVID-19 outbreak, UPOU conducted web seminars on the conversion to online classes.
While classes have since been suspended by the University, putting an end to the short-lived conduct of online classes by its constituent universities, UPOU’s purely-online classes have continued. As the leading open and distance e-learning institution in the country, UP President Danilo Concepcion referred to UPOU in its anniversary celebration last month as the “most high-tech” constituent in the UP System in terms of using information and communication technologies in teaching and learning.
Its administration, some faculty, and staff, who previously reported for work in their headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna as well as in learning centers across the country, have been rendering service from their homes.
In a report submitted the UP System dated 24 March 2020, UPOU states that it conducted a survey in its community on COVID-19-related concerns and 62 responded. Of the 62, three students disclosed that they are persons under monitoring. A 34-year-old male abroad has finished his 14-day quarantine period at the time of his response. A 31-year-old female in the country said that she is being monitored daily by the Department of Health. And a 23-year-old female, also in the Philippines, is in self-quarantine.
UPMin to offer diagnostic program for free COVID-19 testing, models maximum possible no. of cases in Davao
UP Mindanao recently proposed a diagnostic program that can give free testing for COVID-19 in the Davao Region. The program includes establishing a Php15-million biosafety molecular lab that would be linked to a hospital. The proposal was authored by Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao director Dr. Lyre Anni Murao, who is also a professor of virology in UP Mindanao.
A recent, still-unpublished study on COVID-19 by Dr. May Anne Mata, a bioinformatics expert from UP Mindanao, shows the need to test even the asymptomatic patients. Dr. Mata’s research also discussed her disease model’s projection on the maximum possible number of cases in Davao, given the testing rate of 0.1% per day.
However, Dr. Mata’s research has found that if the testing rate were to increase from 70% to 100%, the number of COVID-19 carriers will reach 0 within a faster period compared to the current testing rate.
Students cared for, ferried home
UP Baguio reached out to students boarding within and outside campus who were stranded by the enhanced community quarantine declared over Luzon on March 17, 2020. It extended assistance to them including transportation arrangements for those who wished to go home.
One hundred and fourteen “care packs” containing food, hygiene kits, and medicine were distributed to stranded students on March 19 and 20, 2020. Donations for the care packs were pooled and distributed by faculty members.
Calls for monetary donations to purchase care packs are spearheaded by the UPB Ugnayan ng Pahinungod. The Guard House has been designated as the drop-off point for donations in kind.
The administration arranged for transport in accordance with travel policies and guidelines dated March 21, 2020.
Following a UP System memorandum, UPB suspended all classes, including online and alternative learning activities, from March 17 to April 14, 2020. The deadlines for dropping and leave of absence for the second semester of 2019-2020 were also lifted.
Work was suspended in all offices except those performing vital service, such as finance, health, security, systems and network service offices in the same period.
UP Cebu ensures work continuity and support for its staff
As of March 23, 2020, administrative offices and units in UP Cebu have been required to monitor their daily schedule rotation and ensure work continuity within a work-from-home regime. This is in accordance with a memorandum (CLCD-2020-056) from UP Cebu Chancellor Liza D. Corro.
Earlier, UP Cebu employees submitted their approved staff work schedule and program of work deliverables to their heads of office/units, while faculty members submitted to their deans a 40-hour work week certificate in lieu of teaching.
The salaries of regular, UP- and non-UP contractual personnel have also been released early to provide a safety net for UP employees during this period of quarantine.