BAGUIO CITY – The increase in COVID-19 cases is inevitable, more so with the resumption of face-to-face classes, but it should not prevent the conduct of in-person schooling anymore.
It is through face-to-face classes that the students’ productivity and aptitude are fully developed and not through virtual learning which has been the tool for over two years, no thanks to the pandemic.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong made the statement in reaction to thousands of students’ impending return to schools for the first time on Monday, Aug. 22, since the declaration of pandemic in March 2020 scuttled practically all social gatherings here and abroad.
“We need to learn how to live with the virus,” said Magalong as he assured the city will no longer implement lockdowns regardless of the alert level.
He said the city’s goal has now shifted to learning to cope with the virus.
“We cannot anymore sacrifice the students’ educational needs that they cannot get from the virtual system. Kailangan na talagang pumasok ng mga estudyante,” stressed Magalong.
Nevertheless, Magalong still emphasized the need to observe the minimum public health standards among students, like the wearing of face masks while inside the classroom and isolating themselves when experiencing symptoms.
He expressed confidence that schools are now prepared to handle in-person learning in the new normal mode.
The city had worked with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to set the health and safety parameters to ensure student’s safety amid the conduct of F2F.
“They have been properly oriented and have undergone F2F trial runs and so we expect them to take the lead in ensuring that their students are following the health protocols for their safety,” he said.
Magalong said the return of students to F2F learning is necessary to prevent the learning crisis from worsening and to cut losses in students’ productivity brought about by school closures.
He said the two years of school closure has impacted the productivity of students and according to the National Economic Development Authority, the loss when translated to monetary value would mean billions of pesos worth of losses in terms of forgone future wages and productivity.