Cancellation of school year due to COVID-19 not an option for Philippines: lawmaker


Posted at Jun 29 2020 10:50 AM

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MANILA - Senate Committee on Basic Education, Culture and Arts chair Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday reiterated his support for the continuity of classes despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

While several Philippine cities and municipalities are struggling to provide distance-learning tools - like tablets and laptops - to students, Gatchalian said that the distance-learning scheme must continue to ensure that Filipino learners will not stop studying for an entire year.

Students wear face masks at a school in Barangay Batasan Hills, Quezon City on February 3, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File Photo

"We need to protect the children and the parents because the parents have to bring the kids to school," Gatchalian told ANC's Headstart.

"But learning should continue. Maybe in a relaxed form, but learning should continue," he said.

The senator earlier said he would reassess in mid-July if the Department of Education is ready to open the Philippines' first distance-learning school year.

As of June 26, only 40 percent of the Philippines' 800,000 public school teachers have been trained to deliver lessons through online classes and other distance-learning schemes, data from DepEd showed.

Face-to-face classes are not expected to resume in the Philippines while a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be formulated, according to President Rodrigo Duterte's directive to DepEd.