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Dear Members of the UP Diliman Community,
Today, the national government will start implementing more stringent measures in an effort to control the spread of the epidemic. These are trying times for our country, and I would like to reach out to our community – our faculty, students, REPS, staff, and campus residents. Let us continue to look out for each other. Let us use this period to help each other find our bearings.
The national response to COVID-19 has cost to all of us, but for some, the burden will be and has already been greater. On UP Diliman’s part, to help minimize the impact of continuing containment measures, we announced last night the suspension of classes, including the online modes of learning, until 14 April. We recognize that during this emergency our faculty and students have concerns other than their classes. Caring for our families and for ourselves comes first.
We heeded the appeal of faculty and students who rightly pointed out that unequal access to personal computers and the internet exists among our community. We support our students’ call that no one should be left behind in their education.
The shift to online classes has also not been smooth for our faculty, who have had to learn new skills and revise their syllabi overnight. We hope to provide more support to our faculty in order to equip them for online teaching and blended learning.
For those who are able, let us use this period of home and community quarantine to learn and familiarize ourselves with the online platforms made available by UP. These too are technologies we can transform as a means to support our community – to check on each other, to exchange stories, to explore collective action.
In addition, work on campus is also suspended, except for frontline and vital offices. These include our health services and community police force, among other units. For the rest of our staff, the work-at-home arrangement will remain.
To ease worries about sustaining our families in the next weeks, salaries of regular and non-UP contractual personnel for March will be released early. We are also making arrangements for the early release of salaries for the month of April.
As for the communities around UP Diliman, we hope to find ways to continue working with the barangays within the context of ongoing restrictions. Rest assured that we will do our best to keep UP’s pledge to serve the marginalized.
Lastly, this pandemic is something that we are experiencing for the first time. But UP Diliman has seen tough times in the past, and emerged resilient. Crises have a way of bringing people together. Our solidarity will help us get through this period, and beyond.
Muli, maraming salamat sa lahat.
Fidel R. Nemenzo