Dear Members of the UP Diliman Community,
The national government has declared the suspension of classes from March 10 to 14. We welcome this announcement. We have also suspended work as part of social distancing as recommended by DOH but all offices are maintaining a skeletal force to ensure that essential services are continued.
Since news of the corona virus disease (COVID 19) aired in January 2020, we have been regularly monitoring the situation in our campus. It has been reported that a UP constituent nursing a high fever was screened yesterday at the University Health Service (UHS) holding area and has since been sent to another hospital for testing. We assure you that in handling the PUI (person under investigation), all protocols were strictly followed, the patient was completely isolated from the rest of the UHS patients, and that the holding area was immediately disinfected.
We will not let our guard down. UP Diliman has created its COVID-19 Task Force that is in charge of putting into place and implementing the necessary response protocols and institutional mechanisms to combat this threat to our community.
In the meantime, I will now share important new policies and guidelines for UP Diliman on travel, events and academic programs in the time of COVID-19. These will help with the choices we will make to protect our community’s health and that of the greater community we belong to. Precisely because of the uncertainties about the local extent and pace of the spread of the virus, we shall take all precautionary measures to protect the collective health and well-being of our community, while ensuring that disruptions to our classes and academic schedules are kept to a minimum.
I ask that everyone— faculty, researchers, REPS, staff, students and residents—take time to read and take heed of the new policies and guidelines. We consulted experts from the University Health Service and the UP-PGH when we crafted the rules and developed contingency plans. Given the information we have at the moment, these represent our best judgment.
In a nutshell: 1) Official travel, whether local or international, will be prohibited indefinitely. Those who intend to go on personal travel are strongly urged to reconsider their plans; if they proceed, they should report their travel plans to their unit head. All members of the community returning from travel overseas will be required to self-quarantine for fourteen days. 2) All big events on campus will be called off, until further notice. 3) We are moving towards online platforms in place of conventional classroom delivery. The Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, in coordination with the Deans, will soon be communicating the instructions to all faculty and students. 4) We remind the community that the most effective way of containing the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing, proper hygiene and behavioral etiquette. Please expect the details of these guidelines later today.
These are not normal times. But I believe in our community’s resilience and ability to live through this crisis with compassion and solidarity. Time and again, we have seen that the most effective response to public health emergencies is our ability as a community to look out for each other. Finally, as a university, our biggest challenge now is how to use our knowledge and resources in shaping ethical, fair and effective institutional responses to the epidemic. I hope to communicate with all of you more about this as the situation unfolds. Should you have further questions or would like to share relevant information, please contact the COVID-19 Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org (with “COVID-19” as subject), 0947-427-9281 (mobile) or 8981-8500 local 2709.
Thank you for your commitment to the well-being of UP Diliman.
Fidel R. Nemenzo