Allow face-to-face classes in areas with low COVID-19 cases, gov’t urged

Published July 9, 2020, 2:37 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A federation of private schools on Thursday appealed to the government to allow the conduct of face-to-face classes in areas with low or no cases of COVID-19 to help private education survive during this pandemic.

The Federation of Associations of Private School Administrators (FAPSA) said that private schools – especially those that are located in the provinces with low reported cases of COVID-19 – should be allowed to hold face-to-face (F2F) classes to enable them to open this upcoming school year.

(Photo courtesy of DepEd / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag noted that many of FAPSA member schools are appealing to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for the “limited conduct of physical classes in schools located in low risk areas.”

FAPSA appealed to the government to allow face-to-face learning in areas where the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) are declared as long as these private schools strictly adhere to the protocols set by the IATF, the Department of Health (DoH), and the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Some of FAPSA members located in provinces declared GCQ and MCGQ by IATF as well as those hardly affected provinces should be allowed to hold F2F classes even for two days a week and these administrators commit to observe protocols given by IATF, DoH, and DepEd,” Kasilag said.

As the DepEd projects a lower enrollment rate this SY due to the COVID-19 situation in the country, Kasilag said private schools should be given an opportunity to take in enrollees.

“FAPSA feels that despite the determination of DepEd to continue its objectives, the targeted 27 million enrollees are hard to come by, thus, FAPSA again offers the facility of the private schools,” Kasilag said.

Kasilag noted that the low enrollment turnout stems from the fear of parents for the safety of their children. Aside from the possibility of exposing their children to the virus, he said that the “unavailability of the vaccine” also scares parents.

“The parents are confused as to the solidity of the online program offered by the government (because) it is too cumbersome to use TV, cables, radios, etc,” Kasilag said. “This is a taped format and therefore, no Q & A portion (and) parents that we talked to remarked that it is recorded thus it is one-way traffic,” he added.

Unlike in public schools, Kasilag noted that private schools can offer fully online education. “DepEd needs also to promote the flexible learning option offered by the private schools,” he said. “We need to retrieve the reluctant (learners) whom DepEd says may sit it out this year,” he added.

Kasilag noted that more than 2,300 administrators nationwide from FAPSA-member schools lamented that DepEd has “abandoned the cause of the private schools.” Given this, FAPSA is pushing for the creation of the “Bureau of the Private Schools” to address the concerns and issues being faced by the private education sector.