UP students given options in complying with course reqs, safety nets against failing grades
April 17, 2020 | Written by Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta (Reprinted from: https://www.up.edu.ph/up-students-given-options-in-complying-with-course-reqs-safety-nets-against-failing-grades/)
In light of the global pandemic and enhanced community quarantine declared across most of the country, the University of the Philippines has decided to end the second semester of AY 2019-2020 on April 30, 2020, instead of the original May 23, 2020.
This decision was made during a meeting of the UP Board of Regents (UP BOR) held on April 16, following deliberations and revisions of a proposal submitted by the President’s Advisory Council, a committee composed of the UP System vice presidents and the chancellors of all UP constituent units. The details of the final decision and corresponding guidelines will be issued in an official memo that will soon be made available and cascaded through proper channels.
With this decision, UP students in all constituent units are given two options. They can choose to complete their course requirements until May 31, 2021, and upon compliance shall be given a numeric grade under a “deferred grade” scheme. Instead of receiving a failing grade, students who find themselves unable to complete their course requirements by May 2021 will be considered dropped and will have to retake the course in the succeeding semester.
However, students whose circumstances allow them to work on course requirements during quarantine, can choose to complete these requirements, following the adjusted syllabus and the deadlines set by their constituent university. They will then be given a numerical grade based on faculty assessment of their performance.
Moreover, students who enrolled in a course that is a prerequisite to a higher course will be allowed to enroll in the latter for credit, despite the “deferred grade” for the prerequisite course. To help students catch up with their courses, departments, units and institutes shall offer bridging programs during the first semester of AY 2020-2021.
Departments and faculty have been urged to prepare necessary course requirements that will allow them to assess academic performance, taking into consideration the crisis conditions the students are working in. These adjusted course requirements must be communicated to the students by May 1, 2020.
For postgraduate students, their departments, units and institutions shall determine how best to proceed with the courses and how to assess students’ academic performances, in consultation with the students and in consideration of the current crisis situation.
UP is also waiving academic rules as well as policies on scholastic standing and student financial assistance.
Specifically, the deadlines for the dropping of subjects and for filing Leave of Absence for the second semester of AY 2019-2020 are lifted. As for the maximum residency rule, residence for this semester shall not be counted in the years of residence of a student.
A student who incurred a grade of incomplete (INC) during the second semester of AY 2018-2019 shall be allowed to remove the INC until first semester AY 2020-2021. Similarly, a student who incurred a grade of 4.0 during the same period shall also be allowed to remove the 4.0 until first semester AY 2020-2021.
Rules on scholastic standing (delinquency), including rules on warning, probation, dismissal and permanent disqualification, are suspended for the second semester AY 2019-2020. Policies on student financial assistance, which are tied to scholastic standing, are similarly suspended.
The University will continue to explore alternative modes of instruction, requirements and assessment methods that are consistent with its mandate as national university, and with the principles of honor and excellence, all while taking into account the extreme conditions, unequal life circumstances, and high levels of anxiety, stress and suffering that UP faculty and students are enduring.
Memorandum No. LND 2020-49
A-Memorandum No. 0SU2020-01-02_Notice of BOR Resolutions at its Special Meeting held on 16 April 2020
B-Revised_UP System Policy on the Second Semester AY 2019-2020 in the Time of COVID-19
[Browse here: https://bit.ly/2KgvMGI
Davao City Should Consider Extending Community Quarantine Beyond April 19 and Conduct More Tests for COVID-19—UP Mindanao Researchers
A recent study by the Interdisciplinary Applied Modeling (IAM) laboratory of the University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao recommends that “the local government should consider extending the community quarantine” beyond the April 19 end date of the community quarantine in Davao City. The IAM lab is part of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team – Bioinformatics and Modeling Group, which is mainly composed of mathematicians across the different UP campuses.
The team headed by Dr. May Anne Mata, an associate professor in applied mathematics specializing in mathematical biology, simulated a model to predict the effect of lifting the community quarantine on April 19 and July 1 based on parameter estimates obtained by fitting an epidemiological model to the cumulative confirmed cases in the Davao Region from March 15 to April 4.
The model has five population categories, namely, Susceptible (at risk to contract the disease), Exposed (infected but not infectious), Asymptomatic Infectious (without symptoms but infectious), Confirmed Cases (assumed isolated and will not infect the susceptible), and Unreported Infectious (includes only those with symptoms).
“When CQ [community quarantine] is lifted on April 19, the infected population will continue to persist . . . For instance, we see that the exposed population is stable from May to July after it peaks during the last week of March,” the study finds. “However, if we maintain CQ at the status quo’s rates of transmission and confirmation, we observe a decreasing trend in the number of exposed individuals around mid-May.”
Dr. Mata, however, cautions that the model estimates are dependent on various assumptions and only show a possible, more likely scenario. Hence, predicting the appropriate lifting date is difficult and can only be accurately obtained by increasing the number of observations and updating parameter estimates.
“Lifting the quarantine prematurely is very risky. To be safe, perhaps we can extend the community quarantine for 14 days. If we get 0 new cases and 0 new PUIs [persons under investigation] within that period, then we can lift the community quarantine,” Dr. Mata suggests.
The next phase of the study will fit the model on data within the duration of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from April 4 to 19, covered by EO no. 23A series 2020, to see if the strategy is effective.
Extending the community quarantine, however, has an economic tradeoff, one that is difficult to model at this time. “We just don’t have data on logistics like total budget of Davao City government for COVID-19 response, breakdown per barangay, cost of goods distribution, budget per household, just to name a few, to do a model on this. Also, this will require a different modeling strategy.”
Using the same data, another study by the team shows the importance of testing persons under monitoring (PUMs) and persons under investigation (PUIs). “We recommend that the government should consider testing more PUMs and/or PUIs in the region for early detection of infected population so that these individuals will be isolated immediately from the susceptible pool,” the study states. This point is particularly important for asymptomatic individuals who may show no signs of disease but may freely and unknowingly spread the disease to the population.
In another study, researcher Zython Paul Lachica and other members of the IAM lab team collated available information from COVID-19 positive cases from the Department of Health within a 40-day observation period to assess the risk factors that increase a patient’s hazard rate.
The study yielded the following preliminary findings: “Male COVID-19 positive patients are estimated to face a hazard rate of 12.79 times the hazard faced by female patients. Coughing patients face a hazard that is 28.35 times the hazard of those who have no cough. Furthermore, a patient with pre-existing condition”—such as hypertension, kidney problem, and/or diabetes—“may have a hazard rate of 2,838 times the hazard rate of patient without any preexisting conditions. On the other hand, patients who are 55 to 64 years old and 65 to 74 years old face hazard rates that are less than patients who are 75 years and older.” It should be noted that these results are based on preliminary data, and the hazard estimates will be fine-tuned once more data becomes available.
Based on these findings, the study recommends prioritizing for testing patients who are 75 years and older and those with preexisting medical conditions once they experience coughing, persons under monitoring who might be asymptomatic patients, as well as those with high exposure to the COVID-19 positive patients such as health workers.
Setting up more testing centers in the different regions is vital to contain COVID-19 cases as the study shows that “having test results within 1 to 3 days after the onset of symptoms reduces hazard rates to almost 0%.” Survival rates decrease dramatically as the number of days before getting the test results increase.
The IAM lab was initiated by researchers from UP Mindanao’s Department of Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science to help the government in making science-based decisions. The three studies by the lab were already sent for review to the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team and are freely shared to local decision makers as input for strategies.
Since last March, UP Mindanao through the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao has entered into talks with the Department of Health XI, Davao del Norte LGUs, and the private sector to establish a COVID-19 testing laboratory that will be attached to the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in order to supplement the testing capacity of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in the Davao Region.