Senators Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos on Sunday expressed support for limited face-to-face classes, with the former stressing the need for health protocols in place.
The Ministry of Education is preparing to test face-to-face classes in 120 schools located in areas with low Covid-19 rates.
In a statement on Sunday, Go said the younger students had not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 and that this could put their health at risk.
He said that although he understands the need for further education, the protection of lives “must remain the primary concern of the country at this time.” “Sa mga bata, takot talaga ako. Unang-una hindi sila bakunado. Pangalawa, Hindi natin kontrolado ‘yung galaw nila (These are the children that worry me the most. First, they are not yet vaccinated. Second, we do not can not control their movement), “said the senator.
He warned the government would be “back to zero” in its fight against the pandemic if children were infected at school and cases increased again.
Limited face-to-face courses have been approved in principle by the Interagency Working Group for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The pilot courses, which will last two months, will have a blended learning approach, with a combination of face-to-face lessons at school and distance learning modalities.
Participation in pilot courses is voluntary and learners wishing to participate must have the written consent of their parents or guardians.
They must also live in the city or town where the school is located and must not have any existing co-morbidities.
The Commission on Higher Education has offered limited in-person classes for other higher education programs that require laboratory activities.
The programs include engineering and technology; Reception, hotel and catering management; Tourism and travel management; Maritime genius; and maritime transport.
Despite his reservations, Go said fully vaccinated students might be allowed more mobility.
Go also supported the suggestion of the mayors of Metro Manila to ease restrictions for those fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Marcos has pushed for holding face-to-face classes in areas with low numbers of Covid-19 cases.
“Distance learning is an interim measure, not a long-term solution for education if the pandemic were to continue,” she said in a statement on Sunday.
She lamented the “numbing effect” of extended distance learning which “turned once cheerful children, loving mothers and exuberant teachers into ghosts of themselves -” zombie children “and” vampire mothers “and mentors “. “This is the hidden horror of the pandemic – the slow death of the cognitive, mental, emotional and social skills of young students and the tolerance and sympathy of exhausted mothers and teachers who finish household and office chores late. at night, ”Marcos mentioned.
Marcos said the students “risked being part of a whole generation that could lose its love of learning, its optimism, its ambition and even its productivity.” “Our mothers and teachers also need to regain their work-life balance,” she said.
The World Bank has estimated that school closures lasting only five months could result in a loss of 0.6 years of schooling.
The National Economic and Development Authority has calculated that just one year of face-to-face lessons could lead to a loss of productivity of 11 trillion pesos over the next 40 years.
“There is no shortage of best practices that can be applied here,” Marcos said, citing the logistical changes in face-to-face learning that are being adopted around the world.
“Strict adherence to the ‘new normal rules’ of behavior may be a little more difficult but doable,” she said.
This included the appropriate wearing of masks at all times, with teachers keeping a safe distance when explaining new lessons, remaining in quarantine for the prescribed period if a student or family member becomes ill, limiting interaction to the within assigned groups or “student bubbles” so that “potential spreaders can be isolated more easily and schools don’t need to shut down.” “Many students from low-income families still don’t access to gadgets or cannot afford internet fees for e-learning and have been forced to postpone their registration to find work, ”she said.