The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) commended the retrofitted facilities of the Universidad de Zamboanga (UZ) – College of Dentistry at UZ Laboratories Building, Tetuan, Zamboanga City, for the onset of the limited face-to-face classroom (laboratory classes) contacts initiated by CHED alongside with IATF and other government lined-agencies.
This is after CHED Chairman Popoy De Vera visited UZ where he made his observations following his ocular inspections of the different laboratory rooms covering five (5) floors of laboratories and those for the School of Dentistry.
“The process for pushing for the gradual reopening of colleges and universities has been challenging. My visit to Universidad de Zamboanga is one of the highlights of my trip in the city. I think I have found the new benchmark that can be used by all Higher Education Institutions on how they can safely reopen. I am very impressed with what they’ve done,” De Vera said.
De Vera commended the large, easy to understand and numerous signages that are conspicuously and strategically placed all over the campus.
There was an abundance of these signages which reminds students to follow health protocols. Automated alcohol dispensers were carefully positioned outside every room to train students to frequently disinfect and Foot Traffic markers are visible with the perfect size.
Other notable practices that can serve as the new benchmark in the new normal of teaching-learning are the use of right sized High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in enclosed spaces for proper air circulation, glass barrier shields installed on shared workstations to help minimize the spread of transmissible body fluids and a fully-mechanized medically equipped quarantine/isolation area for suspected patients while awaiting transport to a health facility.
“UZ also maximized the use of technology in teaching by utilizing simulators complete with an intraoral camera to aid students in keeping with teacher’s instructions,” De Vera said that Universidad de Zamboanga surpassed the minimum requirements on health protocols.
UZ has taken the lead among institutions in Region-IX in retrofitting its facilities beyond the minimum requirements thereby lending itself as epitome for compliance to CHED-DOH Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-01 prescribing for the Gradual Reopening Campus of Higher Education Institutions for Limited Face-to-Face classes during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Universidad de Zamboanga was also conferred with the Safety Seal Certification by no less than Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar under the the DOLE, DTI, DILG/PNP, and LGU Guidelines. A voluntary certification program which can serve as a constant reminder for everyone to adhere to public health standards set by the Issuing Authorities.
“We are faced with an immense challenge to overcome this pandemic with the volatile resurgence of cases and evolving variants coupled with impositions of quarantine restrictions. Navigating our way through these uncertainties, the survival of any organization now depends on how well we adapt to technology, how effectively we can shift our paradigm, and how innovative we are in pursuing new ideas,” said UZ Executive Vice President Abram Eustaquio.
The Universidad de Zamboanga is a private non-sectarian University, established on October 12, 1948. It is Western Mindanao’s largest private educational institution and operates seven (7) campuses which include 2 off-site branches located in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay Province, and Pagadian in Brgy. Tiguma, Pagadian City.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education