My dear Viscans,
Let me update you on the status of the university’s initiatives in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on the academic requirements of students this semester.
Since we suspended classes and adopted flexible work arrangements last March, I have constantly been in touch with the Commission on Higher Education, other SUCs, our university officials and council, and our stakeholders, to decide on what is best for VSU in the coming weeks.
The present situation is still fluid and full of uncertainties. This is why, as per consultation with the University Administrative Council and Department Heads, a consensus was arrived on what to do after April 30, 2020.
The VSU Board of Regents (BOR) will meet online next week to decide on these matters. The basis for our actions should be the BOR’s official decisions and pronouncements.
Meanwhile, it has come to the attention of my office that some faculty members are requiring assignments/assessments without due consideration that many of our students have no access to internet connectivity. I appeal to those instructors to consider the plight of our students: be compassionate and exercise maximum leniency.
I also hope that our faculty and students will be more circumspect and avoid circulating unverified information as this may sow confusion and unnecessary anxiety in these difficult times.
As part of our future preparations, we will roll out a series of surveys among faculty and students to assess our readiness for blended learning/flexible class arrangements—something that the higher education community is gearing up for in the semesters ahead. We will try to reach everyone, even through text and call, so that we will hear from as many as possible.
In the interim, we earlier announced that our faculty should start to work on making their instructional materials and their class designs online-ready (OP Memorandum 72., S. 2020). This is part of embracing this new normal, to ensure that we can continue delivering quality instruction that is relevant and timely. I have just organized a Committee on Online-Ready Instructional Materials and Classroom Design that will assist us with necessary tools, templates and/or platforms required to prepare, format, and produce the said materials.
In our meetings, I’ve always reminded our faculty and staff that these are extraordinary times and we cannot use our “normal” assumptions in deciding on what is fair and just.
To our students, please answer our survey once it reaches you—whether through online, by call or text—because that will help us how we can continue to make higher education inclusive.
Wherever this pandemic brings us, rest assured VSU will seek the highest good for every Viscan. We will press on leaving no Viscan behind.
Please stay safe and God bless us all!
From the president’s official Facebook page: Edgardo E. Tulin