Consider face-to-face classes in rural areas, solons ask DepEd

Published May 22, 2021, 10:09 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Congressmen have asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to look further into the possibility of piloting limited face-to-face classes in provinces where there are no more cases of COVID-19.

Photo courtesy of Department of Education (FILE PHOTO/MANILA BULLETN)

During the hearing of the House Committee on Basic Education on the prospects of resuming in-person classes, Sorsogon 1st District Representative Evelina Escudero said that some areas in her province could actually start limited face-to-face classes.

“Probably DepEd should run through the provinces, kasi (because) there are some areas in the provinces na pwede na silang magface to face kasi wala naman doong masyadong cases (that can start with face-to-face classes because there are no more or very few cases). Like for those na malayong-malyo na talaga (that are reallly remote), I think they should consider that already or suggest to the President,” Escudero told the DepEd Thursday, May 20.

“In our place, there are some really that can have face-to-face [classes], but not in the cities or in the central areas of municiplaities,” she added.

In their presentation to the House panel, the DepEd said 589 schools so far are planning to participate in the rollout of limited face-to-face classes once approved by President Duterte.

Twenty-two schools are from the National Capital Region (NCR), should the region be placed under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed quarantine status.

“Kung papahintulutan po ng ating Pangulo at ito naman po ‘yong ating minumungkahi na (If the President will allow since we have been suggesting it) — in fact, meron po kaming klarong plano paano pong unti-unting makarating po doon (we have clear plans as to how to gradually implement it) — we will start with pilot areas po muna (first),” DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali told the lawmakers.

But Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo demanded for detailed plans, asking the DepEd to specify the schools where the limited physical classes will be rolled out.

Echoing Escudero, he said the agency should prepare another plan that would cover only rural areas excluding cities that are still high-risk for coronavirus transmission.

“Kakabahan talaga ‘yong mga tao ‘pag NCR kasi dito ang more than 50 percent [of cases] sabi ng DOH, eh. And then pinilipilit nyo na dito umpisahan? Talagang unbelievable (People will really be bothered if you start in the NCR because more than 50 percent of cases are here according to the Department of Health. Then you are insisting to start it here? It’s really unbelievable),” Romulo said.

Duterte earlier rejected the resumption of face-to-face classes until the population has been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus infection. He said he doesn’t want to endanger students and teachers.

Umali stressed that they would wait for Duterte’s go-signal for starting limited face-to-face classes.