Student group slams plan to allow face-to-face classes amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — The Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) denounced some of the senators’ suggestion to the Department of Education (DepEd) to consider reopening schools for face-to-face classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That the government can conclude — in light of the healthcare sector on its knees and the lack of mass testing and proper contract tracing — that the country’s ‘dramatically improved’ COVID-19 situation may allow for the resumption of physical classes is a demonstration of pure delusion,” said SPARK in a statement issued on Wednesday.
The group issued the statement after some senators proposed the resumption of limited in-person classes.
Senator Win Gatchalian proposed to have limited face-to-face classes only in areas considered as low-risk for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Senator Imee Marcos insisted that school should be opened and even lamented why cockfighting activities were allowed to resume when education is more important.
DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, in response to proposals, said that local governments and parents should also be held accountable if students get sick once in-person classes are allowed, calling for “shared responsibility” with the agency.
But SPARK questioned how the government can guarantee the public their safety during physical classes when general health and education infrastructure are lacking.
“Until there is no presence of greater health infrastructures in schools and free mass testing and contract tracing are properly implemented, the lives of not just the students alone but also their families and teachers will be at stake if the resumption of physical classes is immediately implemented,” SPARK said.
SPARK also pointed out the lack of proper public transportation to serve the students, teachers, and other personnel.
“How will DepEd and the entire Duterte regime take accountability if students become carriers of the deadly disease?”
As schools were forced shut due to the pandemic, DepEd implemented blended learning for the school year where modules, television, radio, and the internet were utilized as media of instruction. Miggy Dumlao, INQUIRER.net trainee
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