Parents, students voice opinions on limited face-to-face classes

Published October 29, 2021, 6:57 PM

by Manila Bulletin

• ‘Yes’ to online classes from a mother who observed that her two shy kids have excelled under this learning system

• ‘No’ to face-to-face classes from parents and students who are worried of COVID-19 since children are not yet vaccinated

• The Department of Education has announced that 90 schools will open limited face-to-face sessions starting Nov. 15


After almost two years of online classes and modular learning, the Department of Education (DepEd) has recently revealed that they have picked 90 public schools and are optimistic that they will reach the 100 schools required for the Nov. 15 pilot run of limited face-to-face sessions.

While the pilot test is limited to public schools in low-risk locations, the DepEd also said that pilot in-person learning sessions in Metro Manila is also possible.

Upon hearing the news, Elizabeth Benzon, a mother of an eighth-grade student, who works as a bookkeeper, expressed hope for the return of in-person learning. Her son, Renier, studies in a public school in Caloocan through blended learning of modular and online classes.

“Oo dapat mag face-to-face na kasi mahirap ngayon paano kung ang estudyante ay walang gadget o pang load edi hindi makakapag online [class], mga titser pa naman ni Renier napaka-strikto pag walang naipasa o kulang ang mga activities na ginawa, bagsak (Face-to-face class should be implemented because it’s hard for students with no gadgets and load for internet access to attend online classes, Renier’s teachers are also strict and they give failing grades if no tasks or activities are submitted),” Benzon said in a phone interview with Manila Bulletin.

Missing face-to-face classes

Benzon said her son also prefers in-person classes. According to her, Renier misses spending time with his friends in school.

Also hoping for in-person classes is ninth-grade student Iya Therese Parpan. She said face-to-face classes help students understand each lesson more effectively.

“Nung face-to-face [class] po we had the chance to study each lesson for a week which made it easier for us to understand almost everything, but when online classes came, cramming po nangibabaw and umaasa kami sa YouTube when it comes to lessons na hindi namin naintindihan (During in-person classes we had the chance to study each lesson for a week which made it easier for us to understand almost everything. But when online classes came, all we did was cram and rely on YouTube videos to teach us lessons we don’t understand),” Parpan explained in a phone interview.

Yes to online classes

But not all agree to face-to-face classes. One of them, Lot Talusan, mother of three kids, said that she prefers online classes because of COVID-19. And she observed that her second child Krista (seventh-grade) and her youngest Gwen (fifth-grade) who are both introverts, have excelled more in online classes.

A teacher conducts an online class (AFP Photo)

“Krista and Gwen excelled more in online class because they are both introverts. My husband and I don’t approve of face-to-face classes due to many cases of COVID, and the kids are not yet vaccinated,” she said in Pilipino.

Eighth-grade student Janyl Mendiola also prefers modular and online learning. She said her parents are still worried about the risk of COVID-19.

“Mas gusto ko po yung online kasi hindi pa ako nag-pa-pavaccine tapos di pa okay sa parents ko mag face-to-face kasi may pandemic pa, siguro mas safe kung online muna (I like online classes better because I’m not yet vaccinated, my parents are not okay with face-to-face classes due to the pandemic, I think it’s safer to do online classes),” she said.

Too fast

However, second-year nursing student Djinn Balajadia said that online classes are ineffective for her because she can’t handle the pressure of fast-paced online learning. But that’s not her only problem. She also had to stop her studies recently due to financial reasons brought on by the pandemic.

File photo of the normal face-to-face class.  (Manila Bulletin photo)

“Bale nawalan kasi ng work yung dalawa kong kuya. Yung eldest na lang yung nagpo-provide samin. Nag stop ako temporarily kasi bukod sa hindi ko kaya yung pressure ng online learning, financial reasons din. Hintayin ko na lang kasi mas okay talaga face-to-face especially sa course namin kasi may internship and laboratory subjects na mas effective gawin in-person (My two brothers lost their jobs and my eldest brother is the only one providing for us all. I stopped not only because of the pressure of online learning but also due to financial reasons. I will just wait for face-to-face classes to return. That’s better in our course since we have internship and laboratory subjects),” she said in a phone interview.

On a lighter note, Daryl Del Castillo, a model who is graduating Communication Arts soon shared that she prefers face-to-face classes without the COVID-19 risk.

“If I have to choose between face-to-face or online learning, my decision is 50-50 because there are still risks in face-to-face classes. I prefer the experience of in-person classes, though,” she said in Pilipino.

According to a report from Manila Bulletin, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that the pilot test of limited face-to-face classes remains voluntary and that the safety of students is still their priority.

The report also said that out of the 90 public schools identified, 14 schools are in Caraga; 10 each in Regions I, II, and VIII; eight each in Regions VII, IX, and XI; six in Region X; five each in Regions IV-A and XII.

Aside from public schools, Briones also said that DepEd is also working on finding 20 private schools that will be part of the pilot, which will begin on Nov. 22.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) also released a statement last Oct. 22 that universities, colleges, and institutions are not required to offer limited face-to-face classes.