DepEd rejects proposals to postpone classes pending COVID-19 vaccine

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2020 10:58 PM | Updated as of May 26 2020 12:50 AM

DepEd rejects proposals to postpone classes pending COVID-19 vaccine 1
Robots standing in place of actual students receive graduation certificates during the “cyber-graduation” of Senator Renato "Compañero" Cayetano Memorial Science and Technology High School in Taguig City on May 22, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday rejected proposals to postpone the start of the coming school year until a vaccine for the new coronavirus disease has been developed and made available in the country.

Education Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo said vaccine availability was uncertain but it would be safe to open the school year on August 24 since educators would implement various alternatives to face-to-face learning.

“Hindi natin alam kung kailan available ‘yong vaccine kasi karamihan sa mayroon tayo ay matagal...nade-develop,” Escobedo told Teleradyo.

(We don’t know when the vaccine would be available because most vaccines that we have now, took a long time to develop.)

“Sa tingin namin sa Agosto ay ligtas din po dahil mayroon kaming mga pamamaraan o learning delivery modality,” he said.

(We think it’s safe to start classes in August because we have different methods or learning delivery modalities.)

DepEd was also facing concerns over the implementation of alternative learning delivery modes, especially online learning, due to the unreliable and unequal access to the internet.

The Education official reiterated that students and teachers would not be required to physically return to schools once classes start.

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The conduct of physical classes depends on the health situation of the school’s locality, he said.

Escobedo added that the decision to move classes from June to August was based on consultations with experts and stakeholders.

On Sunday, Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the DepEd would release a set of health standards that schools should follow.