Palace clarifies: No ‘face-to-face’ classes until PH under ‘new normal’
MANILA, Philippines — When President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night that there will be “no classes for this generation,” unless a vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was developed, Malacañang said he only meant that there would be no holding of physical classes to avoid the spread of the viral disease.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the clarification Tuesday amid questions on the plans of the Department of Education for this coming school year as the country continues to grapple with COVID-19.
Roque said the President meant to say that he is not inclined to resume the holding of “face-to-face” classes, so long as the country is under community quarantine, especially since a vaccine is not yet available, because the government is putting a premium on the health of the children.
“Habang wala pang bakuna at habang wala pa tayo sa new normal, yung wala nang community quarantine, hindi pa rin po tayo magkakaroon ng face-to-face classroom na mga klase,” Roque explained during an online briefing.
But Roque said this does not mean that education will completely be hampered since blended learning or the use of other platforms such as television, radio and the internet may still be utilized.
“Pero pag dumating naman po ang 24 Agosto, at nasa new normal tayo, pupuwede naman po. But, kung hindi po talaga dumating ang new normal at hindi mailift ang mga community quarantines, hindi naman po ibig sabihin na hindi na mag-aaral ang ating mga kabataan,” Roque said.
“Meron po tayong tinatawag na blended learning, sang ayon po kay Secretary (Leonor) Briones ng DepEd (Department of Education), gagamitin po natin ang telebisyon, ang radyo at ang internet para ipagpatuloy po ang edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan,” he added.
The same thing applies to higher education institutions, Roque said, as he advised them to prepare for the “new normal” in classes.
“I’m advising all types of schools na maghanda na po sa new normal. Ang possibility po talaga is we will have to be more creative, there will have to be more blended or flexible learning at tama naman po ang sabi ng Presidente, habang walang bakuna, hindi po tayo tuluyang ligtas,” Roque said.
“The bottomline is, we will not compromise the health of our youth,” he added.
Roque said the government is also looking at establishing “make-shift classrooms” in barangays for students who have limited or do not have access to the internet.
“Kung walang internet, sigurado namang may radyo doon. Siguro po kung kinakailangan ay magkakaroon po siguro tayo ng make-shift classroom using radio or TV sa iba’t ibang mga barangay centers kung saan pupuwede talagang magkaroon ng social distancing ‘no,” Roque said.
“Sa tingin ko po, ang radyo po at ang TV, iyan po ang magsisiguro na wala pong diskriminasyon laban po sa mga mahihirap,” he added
DepEd earlier announced that the school year 2020 to 2021 will open, physically or virtually, on August 24.
Colleges and universities who will use full online education can open anytime, Malacañang earlier said.
As of Monday, there are 14,319 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide with 873 deaths and 3,323 recoveries.
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