As it supports the concrete preparations of the government for the reopening of schools, a private schools group pointed out that consent and liability should be very “clear” in the guidelines for the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes.
Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) managing director Joseph Noel Estrada, during the Laging Handa public briefing on Tuesday, Sept. 21, said that the guidelines to be issued for the pilot in-person classes should address liability concerns, among others, once the implementation in low risk areas starts.
In a statement issued Sept. 20, DepEd said that participating schools must have the “written support and consent of parents” of students who shall participate in the pilot implementation.
However, Estrada said that the issue of liability remains unclear.
“Kasi ‘pag sinabi natin na the parents will sign off on consent, siyempre mayroon doon mga conditions eh na hindi liable ang eskuwelahan or walang magiging liable in case magkaroon ng virus or maka-contract ng virus iyong estudyante (Because when we say that the parents will sign off on consent, of course there are conditions that the school is not liable or no one will be liable in case the student contracts the virus),” he said.
Estrada also pointed out that in this case, getting a parental consent might become “prohibitive” and might dissuade the parents from allowing their children to participate.
“Baka hindi na lang papasukin ng mga magulang ang kanilang mga anak kung mayroong waivers na papamirmahan sa kanila (The parents might not let their children go to school if there are waivers to be signed),” Estrada said. “So ‘yan din po ang isang tinitingnan namin na dapat sigurong ma-address doon sa guidelines (So that's also something we're looking at that should probably be addressed in the guidelines),” he added.
As explained by DepEd, attending limited face-to-face classes will be voluntary and it requires consent.
Estrada said that in private schools, there can be two modes of delivery: online and face-to-face.
When this happens, he noted that there might be challenges and limitations especially when it comes to costs and resources.
“Hindi naman po sapat ang mga resources ng mga private schools para magpatupad ng dalawang sistema sa isang school year (Private schools do not have enough resources to implement two systems in one school year),” Estrada said. “So these are the operational issues that we have to address moving forward,” he added.
Estrada said that COCOPEA will request a copy of the guidelines from DepEd so private schools can make suggestions and recommendations based on the concerns of parents and the learners themselves.