Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Sunday opposed proposals to resume the holding of face-to-face classes in schools at this time, saying it might cause a spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.
This, after some lawmakers expressed the desire for the reopening of schools in some areas of the country with minimal or no cases of Covid-19.
“Kapag sinabi mong face-to-face na ‘yung mga estudyante, you’re talking of millions of students, so wala ka nang kontrol diyan kapag sinabi mong face-to-face. Kapag sinabi mo namang selected, ano naman ang criteria mo? (When you say face-to-face (classes) of the students, you’re dealing with millions of students, so we have no control over it when you say face-to-face. But when you say selected, what are the criteria?),’’ Año said in a radio interview.
He also pointed out that President Rodrigo Duterte had already pronounced that face-to-face classes would not be allowed until the end of this year.
“So sundin natin ang utos ng Pangulo. By January naman, marami naman tayong pagbabago diyan (Let us follow the order of the President. By January, there would be numerous changes),’’ he added.
In a Senate hearing last week, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who chairs the Committee on Basic Education, expressed support to the proposed localized and limited face-to-face learning workshops to ease the burden of parents who are having difficulty teaching their children at home.
He said if massage parlors have already been allowed to operate, schools must also be allowed to open for limited face-to-face classes, as he noted that the Covid-19 situation is getting better in some areas of the country.
Senators Imee Marcos and Nancy Binay also noted that cockpit arenas and tourism sites have also now reopened.
Despite these arguments, Año still opposed the holding of “physical classes’’, saying the enforcement of the minimum health standards will be extremely difficult to control in schools.
Last October, DepEd started its preparations for the limited face-to-face classes in areas with no reported Covid-19 infections.
Public school classes nationwide resumed on Oct. 5 under the DepEd’s Blended Learning Program, with about 22.5 million learners studying through the use of modules, radio, television, and the internet. (PNA)