COLLEGIATE sports are back after a two-year pandemic hiatus.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on Monday officially gave the green light to allow collegiate athletes to hold contact or face-to-face training, signaling the start of the school leagues that was shelved the past two years due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

No less than CHEd Chairman Prospero “Popoy” E. de Vera III gave his stamp of approval of the guidelines that would allow student athletes to stage bubble training in full capacity in Alert Level 1 areas and 50% in Alert Level 2 venues.

“They may now start immediately,” said Mr. De Vera during a briefing at the Emilio Aguinaldo College Sports and Cultural Center in Manila.

No less than Health  attended it along with school representatives from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

In the in-person training, all athletes, coaches and staff members were required to get vaccinated and implement health protocols.

The next move now is the competition proper, which could start March the earliest for both the NCAA and UAAP.

The guidelines were practically the same ones being implemented in the face-to-face classes in the whole country.

The last time collegiate sports were played was in 2019.

The NCAA held its season last year but mostly online since contact and face-to-face games are strictly prohibited during the pandemic. — Joey Villar