MANILA – A group of parents said Wednesday that they want children to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before face-to-face classes resume later this year.
President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday said the government aims to allow the conduct of full face-to-face classes by November.
“Ito po kung as much as possible, 100 percent fully vaccinated ang mga bata. Kasi po etong nakaraang kwan eh 1 ½ months ng school year, eh pinagsabay po yung non-vaccinated tsaka vaccinated na bata, pinapasok sa school,” said Lito Senieto of the National Parents-Teacher Association Federation.
(As much as possible, we want kids 100 percent vaccinated before full face-to-face classes resume. Because in the last month and a half of the last school year, they mixed the vaccinated and unvaccinated kids.)
“So as much as possible, by this November, meron na po tayong (we already have) 100 percent fully vaccinated na teachers, as well as the administration, school administration school head, at saka mga estudyante,” he said.
Senieto also said all schools must have clinics with designated nurses who can assist students with COVID-19 symptoms.
“Sa kasalukuyan kasi, ngayon ang nangyayari is meron tayong isang room for, yung iba, meron isang room na itinalaga as clinic. But the clinic is walang nagmamanman, lalo na sa public, ng regular nurse ng school,” he noted.
(At present, some schools have a room that is designated as the school clinic. But the clinic doesn't have a nurse.)
“Yung kawawa is yung mga nasa barrio kasi. Maganda po sa bayan, kasi meron tayong rural health unit, na pwede about a hundred meters, andoon na sila. Paano yung sa barrio? Eh that, it takes about kilometers yun ang pinag-uusapan natin. At the most, kung pwede po sana, if we target it, at 100 percent, merong nurse sana at clinic sa bawat school,” he stressed.
(It is hard for those in the barrios. In the town proper, you are usually about a hundred meters away from the rural health unit. But yif you're in a barrio, you're kilometers away. If we reopen full face-to-face classes, I hope every school has a clinic and a nurse.)
Senieto said that temperature-checking and handwashing stations should also be retained in schools.
The Philippines currently allows COVID-19 vaccination for ages 5 and up. It recently released guidelines for additional doses for 12 to 17-year-olds.
In-person classes in basic education resumed in late 2021 in nearly 300 "pilot" schools. In February, the DepEd kicked off an "expansion," allowing more schools to hold physical classes.
Private schools group says preps needed before classes reopen
For his part, Eleazandro Kasilag of the Federation of Association of Private School Administrators (FAPSA) said they need to prepare for the reopening of face-to-face classes.
He noted that some of the preparations need a lot of money, as private schools continue to struggle with their operational expenses.
“Kung pagsasabayin naman namin, kasi yung iba, pwede yung gusto pumasok, gusto mag-face-to-face, pumasok. Yung pwedeng sa online, sa bahay. Pero dapat ang eskwelahan, meron kang ano, camera na kumbaga pwedeng magbigay ng pagkakataon na makasabay yung nasa bahay na online.”
“Eh online connection yun, internet ang problema. Hindi ganoon kalaki ang aming bandwidth, eh mahal din yan,” he said.
(If there will be both online and face-to-face learning, a school must have a camera that will allow students at home to tune in to their classes online. But an online connection is expensive, and we don't have that kind of bandwidth.)
“Isa pang hinihingi yung hepa filter sa aircon na ang pinakamura ay P12,000 per classroom ang ilalagay daw. Medyo, ang gusto sana namin, kung saka-sakali, considering NCR, at least sa NCR muna ‘no, eh Alert Level 1 lang naman tayo pa eh. Eh alert level so 100% allowed.”
“’Pag pupunta ka sa mall, tambak ang mga bata. At you know, minsan nga, nakakita ako wala naman face mask. Wala. Eh bakit pagdating sa classroom, at saka napakahirap namang requirements, eh alert level 1, 100 percent naman pupuwede?”
(Another thing they're asking for is the placing of hepa filters in airconditioned classrooms, which costs P12,000 per classroom. We're asking for a reconsideration, since we're under Alert Level 1 in NCR where 100 percent capacity of establishments is allowed. I go to the mall and see kids, sometimes withoit face masks. Why should requirements for classrooms be strict?)
Kasilag said he hopes new Education Secretary Sara Duterte will simplify requirements for private schools.
“Kami’y nanggaling sa pandemic na ang budget eh marami pa kaming utang… Hanggang ngayon ay lubog pa rin kami sa utang, iba sa amin. At alam niyo naman na nagsasarahan ang mga private schools. Plus the fact na ang mga estudyante namin nagsilipat na. Ang mga teachers natin naglilipatan na rin,” he said.
(We are coming from a pandemic budget, and some schools are buried in debt. Some private schools have closed down. Our students are transferring, and so are our teachers.)
--TeleRadyo, 6 July 2022