While many sectors welcomed the approval of limited face-to-face classes, a group of teachers on Monday, Sept. 20, asked the government to reconsider its decision to allow the pilot implementation of in-person learning — for now.
“Naniniwala kami na hindi napapanahon at lubhang mapanganib ang pagdaraos ng face to face classes ngayon, patuloy na tumataas ang kaso ng COVID sa buong bansa at nahihirapan na nang lubos ang ating health care system (We believe that it is not timely and very dangerous to hold face to face classes now, the number of COVID cases continues to rise across the country and our health care system is already overwhelmed),” the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, during his press briefing, announced that President Duterte’s already approved the pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes in low risk areas.
In the same briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones welcomed the approval and explained the initial guidelines for the pilot implementation of in-person classes which has been in the works for months now.
However, TDC said that allowing children – even on a limited scale – to go back to schools amid the surge in COVID-19 cases might be dangerous.
“Kung itutulak ang in-person classes ay tila isinusubo sa panganib ang mga mamamayan, lalo na ang mga bata (If in-person classes are pushed, it seems that citizens, especially children, are being put at risk),” TDC warned.
If the government will push through with the limited face-to-face classes, TDC said that this should be “planned and implemented carefully.”
TDC said that DepEd should also be able to ensure that all participants in the pilot implementation are “safe.”
Likewise, the group also pointed out that who will be “held accountable in the event that someone becomes infected” as a result of implementing the limited face-to-face classes.
TDC said that it should also be made clear who will provide medical at financial assistance to those who will contract COVID-19 while attending the limited face-to-face classes and who will face administrative charges in case of neglect.
“Nakalulungkot lamang sapagkat tila nasanay na ang pamahalaan na ibala ang mga guro at kawani sa mga programang walang kahandaan at katiyakan at isuong sila sa panganib (It is only unfortunate because the government seems to be accustomed to immersing teachers and staff in unprepared and insecure programs and putting them at risk),” TDC lamented.
Although the group believed there is no “better way” for students to learn than to hold face-to-face classes, TDC said that the “current pandemic situation” does not allow for this.
“Ang edukasyon ay maaaring maantala at sa ngayon, mas mahalaga ang buhay at kalusugan ng mga bata at mamamayan (Education can be delayed and today, the lives and health of children and citizens are more important),” TDC said.
Given this, the group urged the authorities to carefully consider and weight “any policy that may contribute to the spread of infection.”