MANILA - Schools must have the approval of the students' parents before shifting to online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an official of the education department said Saturday.
Usec. Anne Sevilla, spokesperson of the Department of Education, said schools should have the approval from parents upon consultation since there are requirements in conducting online classes, all of which cannot be answered for by the schools.
"For example, if you shift to the online delivery, kailangan may WiFi connection ang mga bata dahil they can't communicate and connect kung wala hong WiFi. So 'yan ay kailangan consulted with the parents," Sevilla said, adding that students need to use gadgets such as computers and smartphones for online classes.
The DepEd official said some private schools in Metro Manila make their students use gadgets, which are paid for through their tuition.
Public-school students, however, don't have that kind of privilege.
"Ang public education ay mainly in the printed form, or the face to face," Sevilla said."Pero we are shifting to the new normal. I know that it's really important that we wait for the (COVID-19) situation to be cleared and lahat tayo ay safe."
Sevilla said that schools can still do something amid the pandemic, as "more will be lost" if they let students stay idle.
She added that shifting to online classes "shouldn't be automatic" and should be taken "one step at a time".
"Basta ang message natin ay hindi tayo hihinto, gagawin natin 'yung mga kailangan na step, kahit mabagal o kakaunti pa lamang. But at least ay papunta na tayo doon sa digital education na tinatawag natin dahil ito na 'yung platform na ginagamit ng maraming bansa. Kaya sila at ready, nag-shift sila kaagad dahil ready sila," she said.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque last week said classes won't start in June, considering the country's ongoing battle against the fast-spreading COVID-19.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte suspended classes on March 10 due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, traditional school systems have not restarted, with online classes in some schools taking their place.