Former DOH secretary says suspending classes a few days a week an ‘overreaction’

Published February 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Rizal Obanil

A former health secretary thinks the decision of some schools to suspend classes for several days a week is an “overreaction” and is unnecessary.

Esperanza I. Cabral, M.D.
Former Department of Health Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral, M.D.

Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Esperanza Cabral, in an interview on ANC’s Early Edition hosted by Christina Esguerra, said schools and parents should rethink this stopgap measure.

“Well, if they want to keep their children at home, they can certainly do that, but what’s the use of going to school for three days and not going to school for two days?” she said.

“On the days that they go to school, they are equally exposed to whatever it is they fear they’re going to be exposed to,” Cabral said.

She elaborated, saying: “I think that the school administrators should consult with an expert in infectious diseases or with the Department of Health before they institute certain measures that they think they might want to do.

“For example, in our area, one school decided that their students will go to class only three times a week and should hold home study on Tuesday and Thursdays. It’s really not necessary to do that. “They also said that students should wear masks during the days when they go to school. And this is school for young kids who are not really exposed to the virus at all.”

When Esguerra asked where such a policy was being implemented, Cabral said she resides in Muntinlupa.

As a seemingly knee-jerk approach to the prevention of the spread of the new coronavirus, many schools around the country have resorted to either suspending classes all together or opting to apply a homebased/ online approach to teaching, particularly for those in pre-school and, for some, also the lower elementary levels.