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In light of the March 16, 2020 consecutive announcements by Cavite Province Governor Remulla and Philippine President Duterte to place the region on “enhanced community quarantine,” the AIIAS Incident Team composed of administrators and selected directors of AIIAS met and announced necessary actions for the AIIAS campus.

The directives are expected to guide campus life and processes during the time of quarantine.

“AIIAS is now essentially on a lockdown as we observe the Philippine president’s directives for people to stay at home, and to only send one family member out when needing to get groceries, banking, and medicines,” says President Ginger Ketting-Weller.

She further noted that the incident team has identified the following principles to guide decision-making, which is complex at such a time:

  1. Minimizing health risks to all who live and study on the AIIAS campus.
  2. Minimizing health risks through our work expectations for our staff who live off campus.
  3. Continuation and support of the academic program the current intersemester.

Although campus offices are closed for the duration of the quarantine, basic services will not come to a halt. Classes are being taught online and students will continue to receive support from faculty and technical personnel via telephone or online video conferencing. Upcoming defenses and committee meetings will also take place via videoconferencing.

The Leslie Hardinge Library will continue to support faculty and students’ academic work through online databases and journals accessible through the library’s website. Online support is still available through online communication with the librarians.

To minimize health risks and to follow the directive of the nation’s president to stay at home, all who live and study on the AIIAS campus as well as its employees are expected to shift to study/work-at-home assignments, while the entry of individuals on campus is limited to residents and a “skeleton crew” to keep necessary campus processes going smoothly. Students, faculty, and staff living on campus are expected to remain on campus unless going out occasionally for necessary reasons (e.g. grocery, bank, pharmacy, or medical).

The AIIAS Canteen continues to be available to those living within the campus, so as to help residents avoid leaving campus for common grocery necessities. A vegetable market is also available as usual, three times a week, for campus residents only. The incident team strongly reiterates the importance of following protective measures as outlined by the World Health Organization.

The campus clinic is maintaining its hours of service and staffing, and is monitoring recent international arrivals, who have been placed on 14-day house quarantine. Spiritual care and counseling has also been made readily available by phone or email.

“It is very important that you comply with these points, “ Ketting-Weller wrote to campus. “We trust that you can see that it is for the protection of everyone at AIIAS. It may be a very quiet month ahead, but perhaps it holds some opportunities for academic progress and spiritual renewal for us all as we are not distracted by other things.”

To learn more about the facts and recommendations on Covid-19 from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control, view this health advisory by the Southern Asia-Pacific Division Health Department: ​http://adventist.asia/news/health-advisory-on-covid-19/

[Photo, courtesy Dr. Teófilo Correa, via Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeofiloCorreaII/status/1239769274765303808?s=20]

By Sharnie Love Zamora, AIIAS

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