MANILA - A Philippine senator is urging government to include private schools in the resumption of face-to-face classes.
Private schools are "willing to invest in health protocols" and have more space versus public schools, said Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
The Department of Education is still in the process of identifying the 20 private schools that would participate in the pilot implementation of the resumption of in-person classes.
"I've talked to a lot of private schools and they're ready to invest and ready to open," he told ANC's Headstart.
"Let's allow private schools because they have the luxury of space and they’re willing to put in the investment to make their schools safe."
It was "disappointing" that only 30 schools had so far applied to be allowed to resume in-person classes, Gatchalian said.
"Initially the target was 1,200 schools, then it was reduced to 120, 60, now it’s only 30 schools that applied. I think there’s still a lot of fear because the criteria’s very strict," he said.
"You need the LGUs (local government units) to agree and the community, stakeholders to agree. There’s still a lot of fear among and LGUs and community members of the school."
Children's vaccination, which government has begun among those with health risks, will help boost confidence of parents, according to Gatchalian.
Under the guidelines of the DepEd and Department of Health, only fully vaccinated school personnel can join the pilot implementation of resumption of in-person classes.
"Definitely this will be a gamechanger. A lot of our parents are already ready to inoculate their teenagers," he said.
"With this vaccination of teenagers, confidence will go up. This will improve the confidence of our parents to bring their kids back to school."
Gatchalian said he would support mandatory vaccination when the country has enough supply.
"We have to wait until our provinces will get their fair share. I think it will happen around end of November then I will support mandatory vaccination even in public places like shopping mall and other areas," he said.