MANILA – A teachers’ group on Wednesday called on the education department to reconsider its decision to open the coming school year on August 24 as the country continued to face the new coronavirus disease.
“Mas malaking krisis ang kakaharapin kung itutuloy ang pagpasok sa Agosto 24 lalo pa’t ngayon pa lamang halos tayo nagsisimula sa isinasagawang COVID-19 testing at ang situwasyong ito ay marahil umabot hanggang Agosto,” Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) Chairperson Benjo Basas said in a statement.
(We may face a bigger crisis if we continue with the school opening on August 24 especially since it has not been long since we started COVID-19 testing and this situation may persist until August.)
The Department of Education (DepEd) earlier moved the opening of classes from June to August following extensive consultations with stakeholders.
Students, however, are not required to physically report to schools as educational institutions would implement various learning delivery modes as alternatives to physical classes. Lessons could be delivered through online platforms, printed modules, and media such as radio and television.
For Basas, the alternative learning delivery modes would cause “discrimination” against a large number of learners, especially those in far-flung communities and from poor families.
The DepEd gave schools the freedom to choose which learning delivery modes to implement, depending on the health situation in their locality and available resources.
TESTING MAY NOT BE EFFECTIVE
Basas added that coronavirus testing for teachers and students before the start of the school year may not be effective.
A teacher or student who tested negative for the virus may later contract it elsewhere since they go back and forth between school and home.
The same concern was raised earlier by Education Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo, who said the Deped was studying the cost of conducting virus testing in schools.
“Maaaring hindi rin ito (mass testing) maging epektibo sapagkat maaari ngang negatibo sa test ang mga guro at mag-aaral ngayon pero positibo na kinabukasan,” said Basas.
(This may not be effective because a teacher or student may be negative now but test positive the following day.)
“Sapagkat kung may pasok ay magkakaroon ng maraming interaksiyon ang mga bata at guro mula sa paaralan, sa biyahe at sa kanilang tahanan o komunidad kung saan ay maaari silang mahawaan ng kinatatakutang virus,” he added.
(Because when there are classes, students and teachers will interact with many people in school, in their commute, homes or community, where they may acquire the feared virus.)
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan earlier said there would be a “testing protocol” in the DepEd’s health standards but “mass testing” needed to be carefully defined.