The DLSU campus may physically reopen in 2022, mentioned Dr. Gerardo Largoza, Executive Director of the Strategic Management and Quality Assurance Office, during the annual University General Assembly held on YouTube last October 23. In the event, Largoza presented the University’s plans for coping with the effects of the pandemic. Meanwhile, DLSU President Br. Raymundo Suplido FSC gave a rundown of the past year.
The next three years
According to Largoza, DLSU is considering to reopen its campuses in 2022. “Based on current infection rates, the pace of vaccine development, and our own risk appetite, it is prudent to assume that both study and work will be mostly online in 2021, with possible phased campus reopenings in 2022,” he explained.
Currently, the administration is eyeing to migrate its services online and develop protocols for safe physical operations. These include contact tracing, safe distancing in classrooms, and the option for team-teaching for faculty members with comorbidities.
These measures are part of the University’s revised strategic plan for the next three academic years. Collectively dubbed ANIMO—which stands for Accompaniment, Niches, Impact, Ministry, and Opening—the scheme also includes other strategies such as reimagining the curriculum and student life-cycle, continuing the conduct of research, growing the University’s network of partners, and maintaining BITUIN—DLSU’s project for digital transformation.
“As it is unlikely we will ever return to life before, we can think of our physical and virtual facilities in bolder ways, repurposing them for blended study and work, or even 24/7 where [it is] appropriate,” Largoza remarks.
Reviewing AY 2019-2020
In his Year in Review report, Suplido acknowledged, “We recall not only external happenings but [also] our inner feelings of achievement, success, and satisfaction in Term 1, giving way to disruption, anxiety, and loss in Term 2, and also to feelings of determination, grit, and courage in Term 3.”
He featured 12 key areas, each highlighting the accomplishments of the University in the past year, including DLSU’s placement in international rankings and its enrollment and graduation statistics; research individual faculty achievements; performance in various licensure exams; and some student and sports awards.
Suplido also presented some ongoing major infrastructure projects, such as the waterproofing in Yuchengco Hall and the construction of the Shrine of St. John Baptist de La Salle at the DLSU Laguna Campus.
Community engagements such as the Lasallians Remote and Engage Approach for Connectivity in Higher Education (R.E.A.C.H.)—DLSU’s adoption of a fully-online educational approach during the pandemic—Safe Shelters: Frontliners, and Kada-Uno Lasalyano were given special mention.
A sense of unity
Suplido highlighted the concept of “Communitas”, which focuses on a moving realization of a value, an identity, and a deep sense of shared unity among those who pass through a ritual process. He urged each department, office, and team in the University to “come together to work on these goals.”
“As we venture into AY 2020-2021, we are still challenged to further experience separation and liminality. We are not post-COVID yet,” lamented Suplido. However, the goals set in the previous academic year aim to guide the University in its pursuit of promising initiatives while revising and improving current plans and actions, he added.
“Ultimately, my appeal is for each one of us to renew our commitment to the tasks facing us,” Suplido emphasized. “Let us carry out our responsibilities or take on new ones for the sake of our common vision. We go back to our heart of hearts to listen and hear to that Lasallian call.”