Isko Moreno insists: No face-to-face classes for now
MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has insisted the national government’s directive to suspend face-to-face classes where students have to be physically present, amid questions on a university’s supposed order for enrollees to come to class.
Moreno said during his briefing on Friday night that the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) has not endorsed any directive to allow normal school operations again as quarantine restrictions are eased down nationwide.
Neither he would allow such activities because it would defeat the purpose of the stay-at-home and physical distancing protocols put in place since Metro Manila and Luzon went on an enhanced community quarantine.
“I don’t think the Commission on Higher Education will allow it. I don’t think so. And I, for one, would not allow it also,” he said.
“Kasi nga, ayaw ko nga kayong malagay sa panganib eh sinesegregate nga natin ang mga utaw (tao) eh para hindi magkahawa-hawa, tapos io-oblo (loob) natin sila sa isang classroom […] parang it defeats the purpose,” he explained.
(It’s because I don’t want to place your lives in danger, we are segregating people so that they would not infect each other, and yet we would place them in a single classroom? It would only defeat the purpose.)
Moreno went on to read documents from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) relaying an order to refrain from in-person classes until August 31, as recommended by CHEd.
He also asked whether students — given the current general community quarantine over Metro Manila and the lack of available public transportation modes — can even physically travel to their schools.
“Una, tayo po ay under GCQ. Paano mangyayari na ang estudyante ay makalalabas ng bahay niya eh under GCQ, 21 years old pababa, hindi pa pwedeng lumabas?” he questioned.
(First, we are under a general community quarantine. How can students even leave their houses when rules for areas under GCQ states that people 21 years old and below cannot go out?)
Moreno did not mention any particular school making such policies, but he mentioned during his briefing that he has seen several questions from college about the University of Manila’s alleged instruction for the resumption of face-to-face learning.
In a separate Facebook post before the briefing, Moreno said that he would answer queries from University of Manila (UM) students, to shed light on students’ concern. As of writing, Moreno’s post had 700shares and 337 comments mostly made by students.
INQUIRER.net tried to contact UM’s offices but phone calls were left unanswered, possibly due to Friday being a holiday.
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The local executive pleaded to school managements and even faculty members and students to adhere to IATF’s clearly-stated protocols — especially since these issues have been discussed in meetings with administrators already.
Recently, both CHEd and the Department of Education leaned towards distance learning, to avoid a local coronavirus transmission especially in Manila which has recorded high COVID-19 cases.
As of now, Manila has 1,747 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 1,110 are considered active. At least 1,301 patients have recovered although 109 have died.
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