As President Rodrigo Duterte approved the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in areas classified with “minimal risk” for Covid-19, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go called for proper and careful implementation ensuring that proper health protocols are in place to protect the lives of students since they are not yet vaccinated.
Earlier In a televised public briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the in-person classes, expected to begin in two months, should pass the Department of Education’s safety assessment qualifications.
Teachers and employees who are 65 years old and below and with no diagnosed comorbidities will be eligible to render services during the pilot. The classes will be conducted with a combination of in-person instruction and distance learning modalities.
Participation in the pilot is also voluntary, and learners who want to participate should have written consent from their parents or guardians and must live within the city or municipality where the school is located, and must not have existing co-morbidities.
Briones said pilot implementation will last for a period of two months and will be done in some 100 public schools and 20 private schools in select low risk areas.
Kindergarten to Grade 3 classes may last for a maximum of three hours. K classes can have as many as 12 students while Grade 1 to 3 classes will have up to 16 students.
On the other hand, technical vocational classes may have up to 20 students.
The aforementioned guidelines were developed by the Department of Education in close coordination with the World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund and other organizations specializing in children’s health.
Only about 100 public schools nationwide located in minimal risk areas and a limited number of learners would be allowed to participate. “We will see how it works, and then we add 20 private schools,” Briones said.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Higher Education’s proposal is to implement limited face-to-face classes for other higher education programs which require laboratory activities for their completion. These programs include Engineering and Technology Programs; Hospitality, Hotel and Restaurant Management; Tourism and Travel Management; Marine Engineering; and Marine Transportation.
Duterte has previously approved the conduct of limited face-to-face classes only for medical and allied-health related programs of higher education institutions in Modified General Community Quarantine areas, and those of institutions in GCQ areas with hospitals that cater to Covid-19 patients.
Senator Go reiterated, “Importante makapag-aral ang mga bata sa paraan na hindi sila mailalagay sa alanganin lalo na kung may risk na mas ma-expose sila sa sakit. Ayaw kong mapunta sa bata ang burden. Ayaw ko ma-pressure ang estudyante na pumasok sa eskuwela tapos may banta naman sa kanilang kalusugan.”
“Sa mga bata, takot talaga ako. Unang-una hindi sila bakunado. Pangalawa, hindi natin kontrolado ‘yung galaw nila,” said Go.
“Pangatlo, back to zero na naman tayo (kung magkahawahan sa eskwela), So dapat po balansehin muna ang lahat, unahin natin ang buhay at kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino,” he added. (SPH/Ado Paglinawan)