By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
A federation of private schools is urging the government to clarify its “no vaccine, no classes” pronouncement to avoid further confusion as many of them prepare for school opening by conducting online classes.
The Federation of Associations of Private School Administrators (FAPSA) said that if what the government means the Department of Education (DepEd) should not hold classes unless there is the vaccine, then private schools should be given another alternative.
“Giving the public the limited either-or option is creating the impression that private schools are non-existent,” said FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag, adding that many private schools are ready to hold classes amid COVID-19 pandemic via online distance learning.
“It has to be made clear that when the Office of the President or DepEd makes a public announcement, it is for everyone and it is a marching order for all Filipinos concerned,” Kasilag said.
“It could not be taken simply as ‘of course, they know it is only for public schools’,” he added.
For clarity, Kasilag said that the OP or the DepEd should pronounce if the “no vaccine, no classes” directive is for the public schools only or if private schools are also covered.
Kasilag said that FAPSA is aware of the intent and essence of the pronouncement “but our parents and our students consider the proclamation as order for them, too.” He added that many of them hesitate and insist that “this school year is a no-no for their kids as advised by the government.”
Aside from the clarification if private schools are included in the “no vaccine, no schools” directive, FAPSA reiterated its earlier appeal of support for private school teachers.
“FAPSA appeals that these private schools be given subsidy in the same way public school teachers are financed,” Kasilag said.
Kasilag added that FAPSA will also prepare a signature campaign to appeal for the inclusion of some private schools, especially those that will not hold classes, to be given subsidy by the government.
In its latest statement, DepEd said that it will comply with the President’s directive “to postpone face-to-face classes until a vaccine is available.”
Based on DepEd’s Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP), the opening of classes for the basic education shall be from August 24, 2020 until April 30, 2021.
DepEd said that opening of private schools will be allowed within the period provided by law, provided that school learning continuity plan shall be submitted and that no face-to-face classes will not be allowed until deemed safe by the authorities. This school year, various learning delivery options will be implemented depending on the local COVID Risk Severity Classification and compliance with minimum health standards.