Gatchalian backs cancellation of pilot face-to-face classes due to new COVID variant
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to cancel the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in light of the new COVID variant.
“Mabuti na rin nagpasya ang ating Pangulo na wag munang buksan ang ating mga eskwelahan, huwag muna magkaroon ng face-to-face classes dahil kapag pumasok itong bagong virus na ito ay baka magkaroon ng hawaan,” Gatchalian, chair of the Senate basic education committee, said in a radio interview on Monday.
(It’s good that our President decided not to open our schools and conduct face-to-face classes yet because of this new variant and it could trigger transmission among learners.)
“Ako naman ay sangayon doon dahil nga dito sa bagong variant ng virus na lumalabas,” he added.
(For me, I agree with his decision due to this new variant.)
Still, the senator raised concerns that pushing back the conduct of face-to-face classes could affect the delivery of education to the students.
“Dahil nga wala tayong face-to-face, sigurado akong uurong ang kaalaman ng ating mga kabataan, magkakaroon tayo ng malaking problema,” Gatchalian said.
(Because we would not have face-to-face classes, it could affect how our students absorb knowledge, we will have a big problem.)
“Kaya dapat sa 2021, ibuhos natin ang budget at lahat ng resources, lahat ng ating makakaya para masiguro na hindi umurong ang kaalaman ng ating mga estudyante,” he added.
(That’s why in 2021, we should put our budget and all resources to ensure that our children’s education will not be held back.)
The pilot implementation was supposed to be conducted in areas deemed low-risk to coronavirus infection from Jan. 11 to 23 next year.
Classes resumed nationwide on Oct. 5 with schools utilizing distance learning modality— a combination of online and modular learning—as campuses stay closed and physical classes remain suspended due to the pandemic.
The new coronavirus variant was first detected in the United Kingdom.
According to Gatchalian, Congress has put in place “COVID-mitigating items” under the 2021 budget of the Department of Education (DepEd).
“2021 will be a very challenging year for both our learners and our teachers in light of the absence of face-to-face classes,” he said in a separate statement.
“Government has to use every arsenal it has to make sure that our learners will not regress, or worse, dropout of school completely. We have equipped DepEd with COVID-mitigating items in the 2021 budget. They should implement those items as soon as possible,” he added.
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