PRRD approves limited face –to- face classes in low risk MGCQ areas
MANILA, July 22 (PIA) –President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the proposed limited face-to-face classes only in areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) or those areas in a transition phase between MGCQ and new normal situation, where there is low risk of virus transmission.
At the onset of the imposition of nationwide community quarantine, it can be recalled that the President announced that no physical classes would be conducted unless there is a COVID-19 vaccine.
In a Cabinet meeting on Monday, however, Education Secretary Leonor Briones presented the pros and cons of holding limited face to face classes in areas deemed low risk for COVID-19 transmission.
“Kailangan i-emphasize itong face to face na ina allow natin ay limited, so hindi lahat, hindi pinipilit ang lahat ng mga learners na dumaan itong prosesong ito. Limited we mean, kailangang na approved ng IATF at saka na classify ng locator o isang eskwelahan na siya ay low risk,” Briones explained.
The President approved the limited face to face learning starting January 2021 provided that minimum health protocols are carried out and coordination among national agencies and local governments units are in place.
Meanwhile in a Malacanang press briefing, Spokesperson Harry Roque identified the following minimum health standards in campuses for areas allowed to have F-F classes:
1. No mask, no entry in the school premises;
2. Frequent hand washing and hand hygiene;
3. Checking of the individual’s temperature and other symptoms of COVID -19;
4. Classes would be limited to 15 to 20 students only;
5. Chairs should be re-arranged in a position where there would be social distancing;
6. Conduct of intermittent attendance to complement the distance learning;
7. Specific control must be done for the entrance and exit of the students and personnel;
8. Mass gathering is not allowed;
9. Schools should provide visible instructions and signages;
10. Provision for preparedness of case management system in coordination with the LGU and local health officials for contact tracing, testing, isolation and treatment;
Roque added that a pilot testing should be conducted with inspection to be done by the National Task Force Against COVID 19, to ensure compliance with the minimum required health standards.
Meanwhile, Secretary Briones explained that this measure has been requested by local government units based on the low level of risk assessment.
“Yung para sa amin [DepEd] mas mahalaga… ang suporta at kooperasyon ng mga parents. Hindi lamang ito hamon sa DepEd kung paano ipagpatuloy ang edukasyon maski meron tayong COVID, maski mayron tayong mga sakuna kase may mga darating na natural disasters in addition to COVID,” she added.
She also emphasized the importance of face to face interactions to children’s social development only if the circumstances would allow.
“Mahalaga ang human interaction… Now, matuto silang makikitungo sa kapwa bata, sa teacher, sa mga adults, sa loob ng eskwelahan,” Briones said while reiterating that this measure, although limited in scale, is a fulfilment of DepEd’s mandate.
“In spite of COVID-19, on a limited scale, we have fulfilled our mandate to help nurture a complete… a whole individual and not a robot,” she said. (ARR/PIA-IDPD)