Teachers’ groups on Thursday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to move the school opening set for August 24 to a later date after Metro Manila and nearby provinces were placed under a two-week Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines aired concern on the effect of the MECQ in the school opening preparations of teachers as well as parents and students.
The National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna were placed under MECQ from August 4 to 18 to help curb the rising COVID19 cases in these areas.
Based on the data of DepEd as of August 6, the areas under MECQ have the highest number of enrollees for school year (SY) 2020-2021.
Combined, there are nearly eight million enrollees in regions placed under MECQ which include 3,045,296 in Region IV-A (Calabarzon); 2,366,525 in Region III (Central Luzon) and 2,358,155 in NCR.
Latest national enrollment data from DepEd showed that there are 22.69 million enrollees in both private and public schools nationwide for the upcoming school year.
Of this number, 21.18 million students enrolled in public schools and 1.47 million in private schools.
“We already have teachers who tested positive for COVID-19 after doing tasks in schools while our learning modules remain unrealized,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas.
This should compel Education Secretary Leonor Briones to “move school opening to a much later date,” he said.
The imposition of MECQ in these areas, Basas said, has a huge impact on the expected opening of classes on August 24 because it is “hampering even more the needed preparations.”
He noted that due to the MECQ, the movements of people are limited.
Teachers, in particular, are having difficulties in fulfilling the requirements of DepEd for school opening, especially those related to the alternative learning modalities under Blended/Distance Learning.
With modular learning as the most preferred delivery modality as per DepEd, Basas said that many schools and teachers are struggling to complete the reproduction of self-learning modules, especially the printed ones.
“What we ask for DepEd leadership is to be open to talking to education frontliners, classroom teachers, know their thoughts and opinions on school opening,” Basas said.
Meanwhile, ACT Philippines declared the “time is up” for government to prove its readiness to implement a safe class resumption and deliver accessible quality education amid the pandemic.
ACT, considered as the largest teachers’ group in the country, challenged the government through the DepEd to revise its plans because failure to do so means that the date of class opening should be moved.