The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has issued guidelines to local government units (LGUs) that plan to use the facilities of state universities and colleges (SUCs) as quarantine centers as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the country.
The Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has earlier adopted a policy that all LGUs who plan to use the facilities of SUCs as quarantine centers must enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the CHED to ensure consistency and accountability in the operation of these facilities.
The CHED has organized a Public Health Experts Group led by University of the Philippines (UP) Manila College of Public Health Dean Jun Belizario to provide technical assistance to both LGUs and SUCs in establishing and running quarantine centers.
Quarantine centers are areas where Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) and Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) can be accommodated for easier monitoring and provision of health care.
Under the guidelines, LGUs must identify SUCs in their areas that can be converted into a quarantine center/ community isolation unit (CIU). They shall ensure that the following requirements and services are met for setting up quarantine centers/CIUs in SUCs:
Spaces or venues equipped with utilities and basic amenities
Required LGU personnel (CIU manager, sanitation officer, physician via teleconsult, other healthcare workers and support staff)
Food, sanitation, infection control health monitoring and prompt referral systems
Provision of security, waste management and vector control, and psychosocial wellness and support for PUMs/PUIs.
Once compliant with the requirements, the SUC, LGU and CHED shall sign a MOA. SUCs may also augment the logistics and shall regularly update the CHED Regional Offices (CHEDROs) regarding their status especially for breaches in protocols and other problems.
The CHEDROs will assist the Public Health Experts Group, SUC and the LGU in the establishment of quarantine centers or CIUs in the facilities. They will also monitor compliance with the MOA and will report the same to the IATF.
Discussions on the establishment of quarantine centers will be done by teleconferencing between CHED, LGUs, and SUCs with the technical assistance of the public health experts.
The province of Sorsogon under Governor Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero is now in talks with CHED and the Sorsogon State College to establish a quarantine center in the premises of the college. It is expected that this facility will be ready this week.