President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday directed the Department of Education (DepEd) to cancel the planned resumption of face-to-face classes in view of the threat posed by a new variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) that spreads more quickly.
Duterte gave the latest directive after a new strain of Covid-19 was detected in the United Kingdom (UK) and has reported to have reached other neighboring countries like Malaysia.
In his meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and infectious diseases experts on Saturday, Duterte said he could not put the lives of learners at risk.
“I have allowed the face-to-face classes as pilot projects all over the country,” he said. “I’m calling back the order and I will not allow face-to-face classes of children until we are through with this. We have to, I said, we have to know the nature of the germ that we are confronting. Wala pa tayong alam (We know nothing yet). I cannot take the risk of allowing the children.”
Duterte admitted that it would be a “disaster,” should he allow the planned resumption of face-to-face classes to push through in January next year.
“That would be a disaster actually. So (we have to be) mindful of that: I am canceling the order I gave a few days ago – a few weeks ago – to Secretary (Leonor Magtolis) Briones of the Education Department to suspend everything, all activities of children, especially ‘yung (the) face-to-face classes,” he said.
On December 14, Duterte gave his nod to the proposed conduct of a dry run of face-to-face classes in select schools in areas that will be considered at low risk for Covid-19. SOVEREIGNPH