MANILA — Another teachers' group opposed Tuesday the Department of Education's (DepEd) new order requiring all education personnel in areas under Alert Level 1 to physically report to their schools and offices despite the continued remote learning setup and COVID-19 pandemic.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) joined the call earlier made by the Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) to suspend the implementation of DepEd Memorandum No. 29.
Under the memorandum, "all DepEd offices, schools and community learning centers (CLCs) are hereby directed to adhere to the 100-percent onsite reporting capacity" policy that the Inter-Agency Task Force allowed for Alert Level 1 areas.
But ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said it is unreasonable for teachers to physically report to schools when their students are learning from their homes.
"Teachers should come to school for face-to-face classes and other actual activities that need their physical presence such as for physical meetings, seminars, distribution [or] retrieval of modules, and parent-teacher consultation," Basilio said in a statement.
"However, it is unreasonable and counterproductive to order them to sit in empty classrooms and do work that they can better accomplish at home where they have already set-up their more responsive working stations," he added.
Basilio said "majority of public schools" lack reliable internet connection and equipment that teachers need to carry out distance learning.
"Instead of issuing premature orders for 100-percent onsite reporting of teachers, the DepEd should focus on hastening the preparation and providing for the needs of safe school reopening so that teachers and students alike can safely go back to school," he said.
The department has yet to respond to requests for a comment on the matter.
As of April 5, only 17,524 public and private schools have begun holding limited face-to-face classes, equivalent to 30 percent of the total number of schools nationwide, according to the DepEd.
Despite the resumption of physical classes, schools continue to implement remote learning modalities such as printed modules and online classes.