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UST resumes online classes amid quarantine extension; Thomasians protest

“[T]he University decided to undertake the most practical step to still facilitate student learning amidst all the challenges that may come our way,” the Office of the Secretary-General said in their advisory released in UST’s social media accounts.

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Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

Online classes will still continue effective on April 14, 2020 until May 30, 2020 amid the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the University on April 8 announced.

“[T]he University decided to undertake the most practical step to still facilitate student learning amidst all the challenges that may come our way,” the Office of the Secretary-General said in their advisory released in UST’s social media accounts.

President Rodrigo Duterte on April 7 extended the ECQ to April 30 from the original April 12.

The University emphasized that health and welfare is its primary concern while it “recognizes the limitations that come with teaching and learning remotely, including unstable internet access and inability to adequately teach manual skills online.” 

ADVISORYIn view of the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon to April 30, 2020, the University…

University of Santo Tomasさんの投稿 2020年4月8日水曜日

They also issued along with their advisory an Institutional Continuity Plan during Extended and Post-Enhanced Community Quarantine which contains the guidelines for the second term of the academic year 2019-2020.

According to their continuity plan, in-campus non-curricular student activities, off-campus activities (internships, practicum, immersions, and fieldwork), and research-related activities (seminars, conferences, and training) are suspended until the end of the Second Term which is on May 30.

Online classes for graduating students will be from April 20 to May 16 and final examination will be on May 18 to 23. For non-graduating students, online classes will be from April 20 to May 23 and final examination will be on May 25 to 30.

The guidelines note that final grades for the Second Term will range from only 1.0 to 3.0 and applicable passing grades will be given to graduating students.

A grade of INP will be given to those who would fail to submit the requirements because of “limited access to electronic equipment and/or internet, health, or other quarantine-related concerns.”

Commencement exercises and moving-up ceremonies are yet to be finalized while specific guidelines on refunding applicable fees are yet to be released by the Office of the Vice-Rector for Finance.

Online resources of Miguel de Benavides Library and online counselling services of the Counseling and Career Center will remain available.

The University called for everyone’s support and cooperation: “We hope that we can all work together to find context-appropriate means to achieve this common goal…Now, more than ever, we need to support each other in this time of need.”

Compassion for students

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The #CompassionForThomasians trended last night when the Thomasian community clamored for reconsideration from the school administration.

Complaints on the “lack of student representation” when it comes to the decision-making of the university were raised by the students.

“We are in the middle of [the] COVID-19 outbreak. People are worrying about their health, food, and wellbeing. The admin should be considerate of our situation,” Faculty of Arts and Letters student Therese Ifurung said.

Unstable internet connection, inconducive learning environment, and lack of learning tools like laptops and computers were among the primary concerns of the students.

Students argued that giving INP to those who have limited internet access is not an “act of compassion” but rather an “act of privilege.”Thomasians also compared the University’s institutional plan to Ateneo de Manila University’s April 7 announcement.

The memo which was posted by The Guidon, Ateneo’s official student publication, includes: a shorter semester, “P” or a passing grade for undergraduate students, and a P20,000 tuition refund.

It is not a time to prioritize grades, the Thomasian community stressed, but rather a time to prioritize the health and welfare of the students and employees. 

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UST Tiger Radio bags award in int’l college radio competition

The radio broadcasting arm of the University wins Best Audience in the 11th edition of World College Radio where 24 college radio stations from across the world participated.

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Photo courtesy of UST Tiger Radio

The University’s radio broadcasting station, UST Tiger Radio, was recognized in the 2021 World College Radio, a competition based in the United States.

The College Radio Foundation on Tuesday, Nov. 23, named the station, the lone representative of the Philippines, for having the Best Audience in the 24-hour global marathon of the World College Radio.

Now on its 11th cycle, the event saw 24 college radios across the world, from Asia and Europe to Latin America. With the theme, “In Tough Times, We Thrive,” the event highlighted the global efforts made by university radio stations to keep their production alive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tiger Radio’s theme for this year was #USTResilientRadio, which showcased the station’s measures in treading on and adapting to the so-called “new normal” in radio production.

Eric Galang, the MOR station head and an alumnus of the Faculty of Arts and Letters’ Communication program, was the special guest for Tiger Radio’s Off-Air segment. There, he talked about radio and the impact it made on his life.

Other college radio stations recognized were England’s Surf Radio for Best Music Selection, Best Programming, and Best Overall Effort; USA’s WMSC 90.3 for Best Audio Production; Colombia’s Estación for Best Promotional Effort; and Sweden’s K103 Gothenburg Student Radio for Best Use of Theme.

Founded in 2010, the College Radio Foundation has been holding the World College Radio competition, which gathers international radio stations across the globe to share their best practices in production.

Paolo Alejandrino is a marketing content strategist for UST Tiger Media Network.

Paolo Alejandrino
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UST to expand F2F classes for certain programs

UST is eyeing to submit their applications for the resumption of limited in-person classes in proposed academic programs before December upon the approval of the University Crisis Management Committee.

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Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

The University will be expanding in-person classes to other programs where the intended learning outcomes cannot be fully achieved with Enriched Virtual Mode of instruction (EVM), Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Cheryl Peralta and secretary general Fr. Louie Coronel, O.P. said in a joint statement.

According to them, UST is eyeing to submit their applications for the resumption of limited in-person classes in proposed academic programs before December upon the approval of the University Crisis Management Committee (UCMC).

“These will mainly be skills-based courses that require in-person instruction. We will likewise determine which year levels and courses will be prioritized per program to progressively increase the number of students and academic staff who will enter the campus at any given time,” they said.

“As soon as the proposals of academic units are approved by the UCMC, the retrofitted facilities are ready for visit, and the documentary requirements have been completed by the academic units, we can submit their applications even before December as was relayed during the town hall meeting with CHED,” the statement said.

This is in line with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ approval of  Resolution 148-G. This entails the Commission on Higher Education’s proposed phased implementation of limited face-to-face (LFTF) classes for all programs under Alert Levels 1,2, and 3 released on Nov. 16.

In a press statement, acting Presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said that “phase one of the implementation of LFTF classes will commence on December 2021 onwards, while phase two will begin in January 2022 onwards.”

Since June, the University has already started LFTF classes for medical and health allied programs.

On the University’s preparedness

Already-established institutional health protocols and standards for the current LFTF programs in the University shall be upheld during the resumption of expanded in-person classes.

The health protocols include the protocol for contract tracing and reporting of cases; for screening and detection, containment, and lockdown; for referral and transfer; and for isolation, quarantine, and COVID-19 testing.

“Our academic units are preparing the face-to-face training plans appropriate to their programs, consulting with stakeholders, coordinating with the Facilities Management Office (FMO) for the retrofitting of facilities, the Health Service for orientation on health protocols, and OVRAA for preparing the documentary requirements,” the statement read.

Moreover, the University’s digital IDs will be utilized to log contract tracing and health declaration features of Thomasians participating in limited in-person classes. Thus, students will be required to update their health conditions, vaccination status, and any contact with COVID-19 patients in the Thomasian Online Medical Services and Support (ThoMedSS)  website.

Health information collected through the new automated system will be monitored by the UST Health Service.

Angela Gabrielle Magbitang Atejera
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Thomasian artist bags 1st place in global art competition

Bricx Martillo Dumas, a graduate of the College of Fine Arts and Design, led the competition among 208 applications from 58 countries.

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"Nexus" by Bricx Martillo Dumas. Photo courtesy of DigitalArt4Climate and Bricx Martillo Dumas' Facebook page.

A Thomasian alumni won first place in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) art competition on Sunday, Nov. 14.

Bricx Martillo Dumas, a graduate of the College of Fine Arts and Design, led the competition among 208 applications from 58 countries.

His winning piece entitled “Nexus” showcased a hand holding a cigarette and a plastic material against a plain red background. This was the only entry from the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Four winners were selected through online public voting using Facebook reactions. Dumas’ art has garnered 825 reactions as of writing.

Dumas said that joining the competition was his chance to both represent the Philippines and advocate for climate action.

“Eight years ago, my hometown suffered from the wrath of [Super] Typhoon Haiyan. It changed my life forever. Should we wait for another typhoon stronger than Haiyan just to realize that this world is suffering from mass extinction? Or should we be the change that this world needs? Our time is now,” Dumas said in a video by DigitalArt4Climate.

“Nexus” was one of the selected 30 creations “with a great level of art skills and unique ideas about climate action” that will be auctioned off by DigitalArt4Climate to support the Sustainable Development Goals and UN Agenda 2030.

“DigitalArt4Climate” is an initiative in partnership with UN-Habitat that utilizes its resources for climate empowerment.

Larraine Castillo
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