MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday expressed confidence that the Department of Education (DepEd) is ready for the scheduled opening of classes on August 24 despite the threat posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government does not want to compromise the learners’ access to basic education even though Covid-19 continues to grapple the country.
At the same time, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration would not put the students’ lives at risk once classes resume in August.
“Ang mensahe ni Presidente, hinding-hindi niyang ilalagay sa alanganin ang kalusugan ng ating kabataan. Meron naman pong mga hakbang na ginagawa ang DepEd para tuluy-tuloy po ang pag-aaral ng ating mga kabataan (The President’s message is he would not endanger the youth’s health. DepEd is looking for ways to make sure the youth continue learning),” he said.
Roque issued the statement a day after he announced that formal learning of students will resume on August 24.
Parents were encouraged to enroll their children starting June 1 even though Duterte announced on Monday that he would not allow students to go back to school until a vaccine for Covid-19 is available.
Roque said the DepEd would need to adopt the “blended learning,” an approach that allows students to learn through electronic and online media and traditional face-to-face classes, in case the country is still far from the “new normal.”
“Pero lilinawin ko po, ang blended learning, hindi naman altogether mawawalan ng face-to-face (But I will just clarify that altogether there will be no face-to-face teaching once we go for blended learning),” he said.
On Monday, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines claimed that starting the school year sans mass testing is a “sure recipe for disaster” as it could endanger the lives of teachers and learners.
Roque guaranteed that students would be protected from Covid-19 because the government is “exploring blended learning rather than face-to-face learning.”
He added that state-run and private television and radio firms would be tapped for “education purposes.”
“I’m sure we would need more than one, more than two, more than three companies at a time to partner with DepEd for distance learning,” Roque said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has adopted the DepEd’s basic education learning continuity plan amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The IATF-EID has agreed that the formal opening of School Year 2020-2021 will start on August 24 and end on April 30 next year. (PNA)