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No Duterte OK yet on proposed limited classroom classes in MGCQ areas—Palace

/ 01:58 PM July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to approve the proposal of the education sector to conduct limited face-to-face classroom classes in areas under the most lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

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According to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Duterte told education officials on Wednesday night to submit their proposals in writing to his office and to members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“Pinag-aaralan pa rin po natin. May proposals po na sinumite ang Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) at DepEd (Department of Education) pero ang sabi po ni Presidente, isubmit mo sa amin ang written proposals at nang madiscuss ng mas mabuti ‘yan,” Roque said in a televised press briefing Thursday.

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[It is still being studied. There are proposals submitted by the CHEd and DepEd but the President said, ‘submit the written proposals to us so we can discuss it better’.]

During a meeting with Duterte and other members of the Cabinet, CHEd Chairman Prospero De Vera said face-to-face classes may be allowed in the following months in areas under MGCQ where there is a low risk of coronavirus transmission.

De Vera presented how schools in Thailand were able to enforce physical distancing and put up covers in every classroom seat to avoid the possible transmission of the novel coronavirus.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones also cited how some Southeast Asian nations have used both blended learning and limited actual classroom classes amid the pandemic.

DepEd had announced that the upcoming school year will start on August 24 with schools adopting various learning delivery options such as distance or online learning, and homeschooling in line with Duterte’s earlier pronouncement’s that no physical classes will be made in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I will not allow the opening of classes na magdikit dikit ‘yang mga bata. Bahala na hindi na makatapos,” Duterte has said.

[I will not allow the opening of classes if children will be crowded together in the classrooms. Never mind that they will not finish.]

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“It’s useless to be talking about the opening of classes. Para sa akin, bakuna muna. Pag nandyan ang bakuna, okay na [For me, vaccinate first. If it’s available, then it is OK]. Remember that.”

The enrollment for kindergarten up to senior high school ended with an over 25 percent drop compared to the previous academic year.

/MUF

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