Gatchalian to IATF, DepEd: study US-CDC formula on face-to-face classes.

Published February 8, 2021, 4:05 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), together with the Department of Education (DepEd), should study the findings of American health experts in allowing face-to-face classes in the United States.

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO - AUGUST 17: A general view shows a row of empty chairs inside a classroom as students begin classes amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the first day of the fall 2020 semester at the University of New Mexico on August 17, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the university has moved to a hybrid instruction model that includes a mixture of in-person and remote classes. According to the school, about 70 percent of classes are being taught online. Sam Wasson/Getty Images/AFP
(Sam Wasson/Getty Images/AFP)

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the task force should look into the journal article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where they pointed out there was little evidence of an increased community transmission of COVID-19 even after schools in the US opened for in-person instruction.

Gatchalian said he believes resumption of face-to-face classes is possible especially if the risk of community transmission is reduced and health protocols are observed including hand washing, frequent use of alcohol, wearing of face masks and social distancing.

“Kung papayagan lang naman natin ang mga batang lumabas ng kanilang bahay, mas mainam na lang na sa eskwelahan na lang sila magpunta (If we are going to allow children to go out of their homes, its best that we push them to go back to school),” said Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

“May malaking maitutulong pa sa kanilang kapakanan kung magagabayan sila ng personal ng kanilang mga guro sa kanilang aralin at makakasalamuha pa nila ang kanilang mga kamag-aral, (It will greatly benefit them if they are personally guided by their teachers in their studies and if they can meet their classmates),” the senator said.

Gatchalian added that allowing safe face-to-face classes will help address the challenges hounding distance learning, which include unstable internet connectivity and the lack of physical interaction with teachers and fellow students.

As the country also prepares for the COVID-19 vaccination roll out, Gatchalian said teachers should be in the top priority list since they are at the forefront of school preparations.

He also said allowing safe face-to-face classes will help address the challenges hounding distance learning, particularly issues concerning unstable internet connectivity, and the lack of physical interaction with teachers and fellow students.

In the CDC report, the lawmaker noted no cases of student-to-staff transmission were recorded during the fall of 2020 even after 11 school districts in North Carolina, with 90,000 students and staff, opened for in-person classes for nine weeks. The CDC also noted that only seven out of 191 infections among staff and students recorded were proven to be results of in-school transmission in 17 schools in rural Wisconsin where the wearing of face masks was a requirement. The said findings were generated during a 13-week period also in the fall of 2020.

 
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