After almost two years, the halls of Far Eastern University (FEU) are once again graced with students as FEU Manila started its limited face-to-face classes last February 14, 2022.
For the Second Semester of S.Y. 2021-2022, FEU is offering physical classes for third year to fifth year students, and Art Appreciation, and Readings in Philippine History courses, following a blended learning format.
FEU is among the first tertiary schools to conduct physical classes for all college programs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several universities have been running classes since late 2021 but it was limited only to allied medical courses.
Taking the lead in the opening of face-to-face classes runs in parallel with how the University moved when the pandemic started. FEU has transitioned well into online learning because it has been using the Canvas learning management system since 2016.
FEU has also been implementing safety protocols in adherence to the requirements of the government and the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) in preparation for the resumption of physical classes.
The University’s preparations include putting new equipment in all classrooms to enable teachers to conduct classes in the physical and virtual classrooms at the same time and arranging common spaces like the canteen, study area, and comfort room to observe social distancing.
“Tamaraws Ready”, a cohesive and consolidated preparedness guide for the safe resumption of face-to-face classes, was released to the FEU community. Most notable among the rules is the strict on-site policy. Only fully vaccinated faculty, students, non-teaching personnel and guests may enter the campus.
To manage the allowed capacity of the campus based on the IATF Alert Level, only students with class or students with confirmed appointment are allowed to enter the campus. The FEU ID is also now equipped with a Contact Tracing System and a mechanism that bars individuals who have no scheduled transaction or official business from entering the campus.
In thy happy halls, again
On the first day of classes, the FEU Drummers performed early in the morning to welcome back the Tamaraws on campus.
The excitement was evident among the first batch of students that arrived. Some were jumping for joy upon meeting friends they have not seen for a while, while others were enjoying the nostalgic and relaxing FEU Manila grounds.
Third year BA Communication student Mary Vel Custodio said it was overwhelming seeing familiar faces. “I expect to see more people next semester, especially those living outside of Metro Manila. I hope more people get vaccinated and COVID-19 cases continue to go down so that the school opens up more.”
Maryjoy Murillo, a junior Medical Technology student, looked forward to the laboratory setting but expects an adjustment period. “The online setting is difficult because I only get to read about these things [that] I will use in my program. I am excited to learn from my professors.”
While entry and foot traffic in the campus was smooth, there were some technical issues encountered by some classes, albeit expected. Technical personnel were deployed in the different buildings to make sure such problems are sorted out quickly.
FEU aims to ensure the consistency in the implementation of the health and safety protocols to prepare for the opening of classes in full capacity when the government allows.
Zuzane Caparas, a third year BS Architecture student, said that while it is good to be on campus again, the vibe is far from what she experienced before. “It’s different because there’s not many students here and it’s not as lively. I hope we soon get to the point that face-to-face classes are required for everyone, so we really get that back-to-school feeling.”