Briones: Face-to-face classes ‘still not possible’ even in areas without COVID-19 transmission

Published October 5, 2020, 2:46 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Education Secretary Leonor Briones Monday said that face-to-face conduct of classes — even in low or no risk areas — remains out of the equation as public schools open nationwide.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones

During the “Laging Handa” public briefing, Briones said that in-person classes are still not a possibility at this time — even in areas with low or zero cases of COVID-19 — because it is a direct instruction from President Duterte.

“Maliwanag kasi ang policy ng President, sinabi niya na walang face-to-face for as long as a vaccine is not found or by implication, an effective cure for coronavirus is developed and found, ‘yun ang condition (The policy of the President is clear, he said there will be no face-to-face for as long as a vaccine is not found or by implication, a effective cure for coronavirus is developed and found, that is the condition),” she said.

As the school year (SY) 2020-2021 opens, Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday asked DepEd to consider the conduct of in-person classes in areas without COVID-19 community transmissions due to challenges in distance learning delivery modalities, particularly in printed modules, among others.

However, Briones said that holding face-to-face classes in these areas is still not recommended at this time. “Pinag-aaralan naman natin lahat ang kilos ng coronavirus na ito at dun sa places na may zero cases, bigla na lang nagkaroon ng spike — may mga lugar na kaunti lang ang identified na may virus pero biglang tumataas at meron din nag-flatten (We’re all studying the behavior of this coronavirus and there are places — where there are zero cases — but then there’s a sudden spike, there also places with low number of identified cases and there are also place where the numbers flatten),” she added.

With the COVID-19 still on the rise in some areas, Briones said DepEd would rather follow the instructions of the President that “unless an effective cure is developed or we are able to access that, we cannot consider dace to face at this time.”