Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said even with the rollout of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines, the resumption of face-to-face classes will not happen anytime soon as President Duterte remains apprehensive about letting children outside their homes during the pandemic.
Nograles made the statement as the government started vaccinating healthcare workers against COVID-19 early this week.
In his virtual presser on Thursday, Nograles said the possible resumption of face-to-face classes was raised anew during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening but President Duterte stood his ground and preferred to have a massive vaccine rollout first.
“The President said let’s have a massive rollout first. It’s not happening anytime soon,” he said.
“He (President Duterte) wants to see a more rigorous rollout of the vaccination program,” he added.
According to Nograles, the limited face-to-face classes will only be pilot classes to be selected very carefully by the Department of Education (DepEd) in areas with low COVID-19 transmission rates.
The Palace official added there were a number of private schools and local government units (LGUs) that have agreed to be part of the pilot in-person classes.
“Some private schools have also reached out to DepEd and asked also kung maaaring sumama rin sila sa mga (if they can join the) pilot programs ng DepEd for limited face-to-face classes,” Nograles said.
“But even so, Secretary Briones may further cut down on the number,” he added.
On February 28, President Duterte said it was not yet the time to allow kids back to their classrooms.
“Huwag muna ngayon. Not now. It would be — I cannot make that decision. It will place the children in jeopardy,” he said.
“I am not ready to lose the lives of our young people, our children. No,” he added.
President Duterte thumbed down the proposal to have face-to-face classes last year, fearing the spread of COVID-19. Students have been under modular and virtual learning since the start of School Year 2020-2021.
Last month, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that it was the overwhelming sentiment of students to resume the face-to-face classes.