Solon pushes for ‘no vaccine, no classes’ policy
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker on Friday opposed the plan of the Department of Education (DepEd) to resume classes on August 24, saying that physical classes should not be held until a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is discovered.
Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo said that based on experiences that countries facing the pandemic show that people of all ages are vulnerable to the disease.
“I think that we should not hold classes in all schools until the world finds a vaccine against COVID-19 and it is available in our country. We should not expose our children to the virus,” Castelo said in a statement.
“We can wait until a vaccine is available or until this crisis is over to send our children back to school. We should play it safe for the sake of our children and even our teachers and other school personnel,” she said.
The lawmaker noted that around 40 to 50 — or even more — students occupy a classroom especially in public schools which means that maintaining physical distancing would be a struggle.
Castelo added that there are also two to three class shifts in many schools.
“How could they comply with physical distancing in such a situation?” Castelo said.
Castelo likewise said that the education department cannot rely on holding online classes “because our telecommunications signals are spotty even in Metro Manila.”
“It would be hard for children to learn through the virtual classroom. Even we members of the House of Representatives are having difficulty conducting virtual sessions and communicating with each other due to weak Internet and communications signals,” Castelo said.
Vocational and technical education and training should likewise be postponed, Castelo said.
“Education is important to all of us, but dodging the virus is important as well. Education can wait, but the virus cannot,” she said.
DepEd earlier announced that classes for the next school year has been set on August 24, 2020.
This, however, does not necessarily mean that students have to physically report to school as classes may be done virtually in some areas.
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