Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: 99% of higher education institutions are able to return to classes

The Undersecretary of Education, Juan Eduardo Vargas indicated that almost all higher education institutions already have more than 80% of their students with the complete vaccination scheme, which allows eliminating the distancing restrictions so that all students can attend face-to-face classes. For his part, the rector Ignacio affirmed that the university reunion and the return to presence is key: “that is the heart of university life,” he said.

In the framework of his visit to the Central House of the Catholic University of Chile, the Undersecretary of Higher Education, Juan Eduardo Vargas , reported that because 93% of higher education students already have their complete vaccination schedule, Almost all of the institutions (99%) are in a position to resume their face-to-face activities.

Given that 93% of higher education students already have their complete vaccination schedule, almost all of the institutions (99%) are in a position to resume their face-to-face activities.

The updated health protocol allows the elimination of distancing restrictions within the classrooms on those campuses or venues where students present a vaccination percentage (with a complete schedule) of 80% or higher. This means that, in 13 of the 16 regions of the country, all the headquarters will be able to operate at maximum capacity, with the exception of 5 establishments in the regions of Biobío (1), Araucanía (1) and Metropolitana (3), which together they do not exceed a thousand students. In addition, the new Step by Step Plan authorizes the opening and carrying out of activities in academic facilities, regardless of the phase of the commune in which they are located.

“With the update of the protocol and the elimination of the physical distancing restrictions, only 5 of the 497 branches of the system will have to maintain the aforementioned distancing restrictions, so that practically 100% of the Higher Education enrollment can return to classes without capacity restrictions. We hope that the institutions make the effort to receive their students in these months that remain for the year, since young people have been the great harmed by the pandemic, ”said Undersecretary Vargas.

We hope that the institutions will make the effort to receive their students in these months that remain for the year, since young people have been the great harmed by the pandemic ”- Juan Eduardo Vargas, Undersecretary of Education

The undersecretary, together with the rector of the Catholic University, Ignacio Sánchez,They agreed on the importance of returning to face-to-face activities, as it not only benefits academic training, but also has a positive impact on the mental health of students. In this regard, the rector Sánchez indicated that “the university experience requires face-to-face interaction at the base, that is the heart of university life. Although the pandemic made us move towards technological tools that allowed us to deliver quality knowledge to our student community, that will never replace the rich experience of being with other people in the various spaces that campuses provide, be they classrooms, sports activities and cultural and above all, the camaraderie that occurs in all the estates that make up a university institution like ours.

“Although the pandemic made us move towards technological tools that allowed us to deliver quality knowledge to our student community, that will never replace the rich experience of being with other people in the various spaces that campuses provide, be they classrooms, sports activities and cultural and above all, the camaraderie that exists in all the levels that make up a university institution like ours “- Ignacio Sánchez, rector

Despite the high vaccination rates and the fact that since September 2021 the Undersecretariat periodically reports the vaccination rate by headquarters or campus to each institution, the return to presence has been slow. In this regard, the rectors have argued that capacity restrictions have prevented the massive return to face-to-face activities.

In this regard, Undersecretary Vargas stated that “we see with concern that the return to face-to-face presence has been slow and that is why we highlight the initiatives that institutions such as the Catholic University are taking, tending to resume face-to-face activities on all their campuses . Given the current scenario, in which almost all young people are immunized, there are no longer arguments to delay face-to-face academic instances, obviously complying with the current protocol ”.


UC Academic Integrity
Prior to the campus tour, the authorities held a meeting where the Academic Vice Chancellor, Fernando Purcell, together with the Academic Director of Teaching, Gonzalo Pizarro, made a presentation to the Secretary of State on the progress made in the implementation of Integrity policies Academic at UC.

“We have also presented to the Undersecretary a very important project for us that has to do with academic integrity, which is related to the evaluations of students and their work. It refers to the honesty to deliver their original contributions. Academic integrity means: education, prevention, extensive information, investigation and the determination of faults against said integrity . This is an issue that has also been revealed in the pandemic due to the way of doing evaluations, talking with students, and doing work for each student. “, said the rector.


Although this topic has been worked on since 2016, during the remote classes there were significant challenges related to the possibilities of lacking integrity in online assessments. However, Vice Chancellor Purcell was emphatic in pointing out that facing copying is just one of the many dimensions of comprehensive training: “Along with ensuring the good performance of our students, and the skills and tools that we have to deliver to them for their development professionally, it is ultimately important for us to form citizens, people of integrity, and that requires not only learning what the values ​​of academic integrity are, but also living according to them, “he said.

“Along with ensuring the good performance of our students, and the skills and tools that we have to give them for their professional development, it is ultimately important for us to train citizens, people of integrity, and that requires not only learning what are the values ​​of academic integrity , if not to live according to these ”- Fernando Purcell, UC Academic Vice Chancellor

For his part, Gonzalo Pizarro presented to Undersecretary Vargas some of the actions that have been adopted to install a culture of academic integrity at UC, such as training for teachers and assistants; video capsules on integrity to include in all types of courses; the Academic Integrity website and its associated resources; the Academic Integrity online course; internal and external seminars and presentations; among other.

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