April 17, 2024

As with other establishments and institutions, the faculty, staff, and employees of the University of the Philippines Baguio proceeded with caution as they resumed work on May 18 guided by the policy established by the national government for localities under general community quarantine.

GCQ is a step forward from enhanced community quarantine imposed on the entire Luzon beginning March 16 and went on for about 60 days.  The measures adopted under ECQ included the cancellation of classes in all levels, suspension of work, and the imposition of a 24-hour stay-at-home order except for the purchase of essentials. These measures are meant to halt the spread of Covid-19 and to “flatten the curve” of infection so that society could resume activities without risking contamination among the people and in order not to overwhelm the health care system.

Anticipating a transition from ECQ to GCQ, the UPB administration in coordination with the university’s Health Services Office (HSO) on May 15 released guidelines for employees returning to work on May 18. 

One of the more important features of the return-to-work guidelines is the active intervention of the HSO in clearing employees for work. The guidelines state, “If cleared by HSO personnel, employee may enter the workplace.” HSO personnel include medical officers Laila G. Jara and Jeanette Tina F. Delizo, university dentist Ronald A. Hidalgo, and nurse Abigail E. Daculan.

Clearance procedures required that UPB personnel pass through a medical triage area located near the guard’s post adjacent to the Iskolar ng Bayan building. The triage facility is a makeshift booth sealed with acetate with two HSO medical personnel administering triage procedures from the inside.

Aside from temperature checks, at least a hundred faculty, staff, and REPS were required to disclose symptoms such as sore throat, body pains, headaches or fever, as well as declare whether they have been in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case. If not, they are required to declare whether they have been in close contact with people who have had fever, cough, or sore throat in the past two weeks.

Information on travel outside the Philippines during the past two weeks or travel outside of Baguio in areas under ECQ or GCQ are also required. 

The UPB administration said the health protocols will be strictly observed along with the wearing of face masks, frequent handwashing or sanitizing, and physical distancing. These measures are held to avoid re-infection in the absence of therapeutics or vaccine for Covid-19.

Likewise, vulnerable personnel were advised to work-from-home. Under GCQ guidelines, vulnerable individuals are those who are 60 years old and above, pregnant, and those with co-morbidities and pre-existing illnesses and are immuno-compromised. – Roland Rabang