CHED lifts moratorium on college field trips

MANILA, Aug. 10 — The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Thursday announced that it has lifted its moratorium on off-campus activities in public and private colleges and universities in the country, but stricter regulations would be put in place to assure the safety of students.

In a Palace briefing, CHED Commissioner Prospero de Vera III said the moratorium was lifted through Memorandum Order No. 63 that sets the new guidelines to be followed during field trips and all other off-campus activities.

CHED earlier issued the moratorium on all field trips in February following a deadly crash in Tanay that killed 15 persons, mostly students, and injured 40 others.

“The CHED has lifted the moratorium on off-campus activities of higher education institutions. We’re issuing these guidelines and the moratorium is lifted effective August 8,” De Vera said.

He said the new guidelines — which was crafted over a five-month period in cooperation with various government agencies, local government units, and educational institutions — expanded the coverage to include not only field trips but all other activities that involve students to leave their schools.

“The circular now expands coverage to other off-campus activities where students go on competitions outside their school, when they attend conferences and symposia, when they do immersion programs and when they go on sports activities,” De Vera said.

The circular sets several requirements that higher education institutions should follow during such activities, he said.

“We will require them to have insurance for students, check the registration, insurance, franchise, and road-worthiness of vehicles used in the transportation of students and coordinate with local government units,” De Vera said.

MO 63 also requires higher education institutions to make sure and be accountable that when they send their students outside the university, there are faculty or persons in charge that will monitor what the students are doing.

“So we are requiring written consent of parents and if needed, medical clearance for students that go on field trips and other out-of-school activities and to make sure that universities provide alternative activities for students who cannot attend off-campus activities,” the CHED official said.

“By this circular, we want to make sure that the student’s safety is protected,” De Vera said.