Class suspension until December can greatly help slow COVID-19 spread, says analyst

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2020 01:56 PM

Grade 2 students pack a classroom divided for two classes at the Juan Sumulong Elementary School in Antipolo City, on June 3, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Suspending classes until the end of the year can greatly help slow the spread of the new coronavirus disease, the head of a University of the Philippines think tank said Tuesday.

Professor Mahar Lagmay of the UP Resilience Institute said suspension of classes until December can lessen interaction between young people that, in turn, can reduce the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.

"Kapag walang klase hanggang December ay malaki po ang mababawas natin sa transmission ng COVID-19," he said in a Palace virtual press briefing.

(If there are no classes until December, there will be a great slowdown in the transmission of the COVID-19.)

"Ito po ay isa sa mga rekomendasyon na binigay doon sa COVID-19," he added.

(This is one of the recommendations on the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Lagmay said studies show that physical interaction is greatest among the 0-19 age group, accounting for 56 percent. Most of the members of this age group are students.

Classes in all levels and school activities have been suspended since March as among preventive measures against the pandemic.

The Department of Education on Tuesday said it is leaning towards opening classes again in August with the inclusion of Saturday sessions.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, however, clarified that the decision may still be influenced by the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Diseases (IATF) and President Rodrigo Duterte's own decision.

"Kung ano man ang rekomendasyon ng IATF at desisyon ng presidente... may influence ito kung kailan magbukas ang klase," she said at the Laging Handa briefing.

(Whatever is the recommendation of the IATF and decision of the president... it may influence when classes would open.)

The Philippines has logged 6,459 COVID-19 cases as of Monday, including 613 patients who have recovered and 428 others who died.