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BREAKING: Duterte OKs limited face-to-face classes in low-risk MGCQ areas

/ 09:58 AM July 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the proposal of the education sector to conduct limited face-to-face classes in areas under the most lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) where there is a low-risk of coronavirus transmission.

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During a meeting with Duterte and other members of the Cabinet on Monday night, Education Secretary Leonor Briones formally proposed to the President the conduct of limited face-to-face classes in areas under low-risk MGCQ.

Briones said the limited classroom classes will not be for the entire five days of the school week, and will only be for a day or two.

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She also noted that limited face-to-face classes will address “inequality gaps,” adding that if the country solely relies on online learning amid the pandemic, it will have “equity problems” for those who don’t have access to digital equipment.

But the Education chief added that not all low-risk areas can resume physical classes as only those that meet requirements such as adequate facilities will be allowed.

“We were thinking that up to January 2021, during the third quarter, we can start allowing between August and at present, we will be assessing the schools. Secretary Galvez advises us to make physical inspections of the facilities of the schools. So we can do it up to January,” Briones said.

She also said schools must strictly enforce health protocols against COVID-19 and coordinate with local government units and health officials.

After Briones’ presentation, Duterte said he is “okay” with the proposal.

“I’m with you on this,” Duterte said, addressing Briones.

Asked if this means the President has approved the recommendation, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters in a text message: “Yes.”

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The Department of Education 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.

Duterte recently announced that no physical classes will be made in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine.

JPV

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