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Duterte Declares No Face-To-Face Classes Still Amid Pandemic

DUTERTE – President Rodrigo Duterte has recently declared that there would still be no face-to-face classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A member of the Taguig City Sanitation Office disinfects a classroom on March 11, 2020 as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus disease 2019. Photo by Edd Gumban, The Philippine STAR | Image from: One News

The president recently rejected the proposal to conduct pilot in-person classes due to health risks that teachers and students may face while the government has not started its COVID-19 vaccination program, according to a report from One News.

On the other hand, Vice President Leni Robredo maintained her position to have face-to-face classes implemented in areas without community transmission of COVID-19 like those i remote islands.

“The President has decided that there would be no face-to-face classes yet in the country. The President called me (Sunday) night (Feb. 21) and he said he does not want to place the lives of students and teachers at risk while no one in the country has been inoculated,”

This came from a statement by presidential spokesman Harry Roque in a press briefing  on Monday, Feb. 22.

Duterte is, however, open to resuming face-to-face classes with low cases of coronavirus disease 2019 in August, should the vaccination program be implemented as planned.

“I guess what he is anticipating is that since we will begin vaccination this month, we would be way ahead of our vaccination program in August to give us the confidence to resume at least limited face-to-face education,”

The president has approved the proposal of the Department of Education to conduct a dry run of the in-person classes in places with low COVID-19 risks.

The face-to-face learning was supposed to start in January but the president cancelled the implementation due to the emergence of a more infectious COVID-19 strain.

The National Economic and Development Authority has revived the proposal to hold a dry-run of in-person classes in low risk areas this month, claiming that the government has managed to contain the new COVID-19 variants.

Roque added that the president’s decision was without prejudice to any proposal that the Commission on Higher Education may have on the college level, noting that the government has allowed face-to-face classes in medical and allied medical degrees, based on the report.

“Well, the President said that as far as face-to-face is concerned, he wants to wait for the vaccine rollout. He did not say everyone should be vaccinated first. If you vaccinate Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao, almost 80 percent of your problem has been solved because we have very few problems in other parts of the Philippines,” 

“I think it won’t take long before the vaccination process in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao starts. But I cannot second guess the President,”

Roque quoted the president’s statement, saying that they will keep it steady, but was unsure if the President was referring to face-to-face classes or the easing of quarantine restriction.

What do you think of this report? How will you react to this? Let us know more about it in the comments below.

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