Baybay City- In light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Visayas State University President Edgardo E. Tulin officially announced the suspension of classes at VSU in all levels last March 13, 2020 on his official Facebook page. Despite the suspension, some students hailing from distant provinces remained stuck in the university.
With the travel restrictions in place, VSU students from neighboring provinces such as Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and some parts of Leyte have no choice but to remain in the dormitories inside the campus.
Hannamae Andrea Gucor, a senior Agricultural Engineering student from Bohol is one of those who opted to remain on the campus rather than taking the risk of traveling to her hometown.
“After the suspension, a lot of students decided to go home. There were a lot of people on the terminals and ports. My hometown, Bohol, is far and it is a risk to travel given the fact that a lot of people will also be traveling [who might be exposed to the virus]. It will be dangerous for me and my family.”
Despite the suspension, some dormitory occupants have chosen to stay in fear of being transmitted with the virus. However, if given the chance to return to their homes, they would gladly accept the opportunity.
According to the students, they feel troubled being away with their families but with the prevailing situation, they choose not to return home for their family’s sake.
"We want to go home to our families, because we are worried and scared about not being with them at this time. But given the situation, we’d rather not because we have elderlies in our homes."
According to University Supreme Student Council (VSU-USSC) President Chad Christian Wales, around 250 students are still in the university and boarding houses outside the campus.
Students claimed that they feel safer when inside the campus with the university’s adamant efforts to prevent the transmission of the virus within its premises.
Since the declaration of the class suspension, VSU has consistently disinfected facilities and offices, and implemented strict thermal scans for those individuals going inside the campus.
However, students are worried about the potential struggle in acquiring food supplies with the ongoing enhanced community quarantine.
"We are worried considering that it’s hard to travel to Baybay [with the quarantine restrictions in place] to buy food and necessities if we ever ran out of stock.This, especially when the suspension will be extended, which is very possible."
Meanwhile, the VSU Market still remains accessible yet only a few stores are open for business.
The VSU-University Supreme Student Council (VSU-USSC) has conducted an online survey on the remaining stranded students in the campus and nearby barangays.
“We are doing an online survey to have a modest estimate on how many students are still VSU and in the outlying barangays. We have also asked them what their immediate needs are. Data from the survey will be collected and presented to the VSU administration for further and prompt action” USSC President Wales said.
After holding a meeting with VSU officials, VSU President Edgardo E. Tulin, on his facebook page, announced to address the situation which includes the following:
1. Food packs to undergraduate students will be given in a weekly basis, for the period of the general community quarantine;
2. A bus ride will be provided for students who wish to go back to their respective homes, applicable only for students living within Leyte Island;
3. All dormitory fees are waived for all students for March and April;
4. Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) and Tulong Dunong grants will be released starting next week. Schedule and place of release for every grantee will be circulated before March 23;
5. University/College Scholarship grantees will also receive their stipend in bulk for the whole semester.
For students who do not live within the Leyte and are undergoing area-wide community quarantine may claim their TES/Tulong Dunong and University/College scholarship grants upon their return in VSU after April 17, 2020.
Amidst the stir brought about by the ongoing pandemic, the VSU administration together with the University Health Services Office has assured Viscans to continue in maintaining a COVID-19 free VSU