Duterte, IATF to meet on Aug. 24 school opening

Published August 2, 2020, 11:59 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will meet soon to decide if they will push through with the opening of classes on Aug. 24 while the country continues to experience a spike in COVID-19 patients.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on July 30, 2020.

Duterte reiterated he was fine with opening schools as long as the schoolchildren will get vaccinated first.

“At the next meeting, we will decide on the actual date of how to open the schools,” he said in a public address last week.

“Ang akin, basta mabakunahan lang (But I insist that the students should be vaccinated first). I’m talking about within the months of October, November, December,” he added.

Despite the challenges in the education sector because of the pandemic, Duterte said he was proud of Leonor Briones as Education Secretary.

“I really am proud to have you in the Cabinet,” he told Briones.

In her remarks during their meeting on Thursday, Briones thanked Duterte for expressing his support to the Department of Education’s (DepEd’s) blended learning program during his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last week.

She said that as of July 30, 22.3 million learners have enrolled on the assumption that classes will start on Aug. 24 but it will be blended learning.

“So in spite of all the fears — COVID and the economy — enrollment is still going on,” Briones said.

Briones said that the DepEd is ready for the resumption of classes on Aug. 24 after months of preparations, dry-runs, and simulations of different approaches, including the use of radio.

“Sinubukan namin ito sa isang IP (indigenous peoples) community. Talagang from beginning to end, marami na all over the country, lahat na regions pina-practice na so that by Aug. 24 handang-handa na talaga tayo (We tried this in an IP community and from beginning to end, a lot have practiced it so that by Aug. 24, we will be ready),” she said.

Briones said face-to-face learning is scheduled in 2021 but it will follow strict health standards.