DepEd : No face-to-face classes until COVID-19 vaccine is available

DepEd : No face-to-face classes until COVID-19 vaccine is available
Personnel from the Marikina City sanitation office disinfects a classroom at Sta. Elena High School following the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the city on March 9.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education on Monday again said that it will forego traditional face-to-face classes until a vaccine for the coronavirus disease becomes available.

“We will comply with the president’s directive to postpone face-to-face classes until a vaccine is available,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement Monday.

The DepEd will instead implement alternatives such as online classes, printed modules or learning through television and radio to ensure that education will continue.

Briones said that radio, television, online and modular learning are being prepared and updated for this year and that teachers are being trained on using new platforms to aid their professional development.

“We cannot do face-to-face right now. So we’ll shift to blended learning for the meantime. And if you use blended approach, it looks nice, effective and the learners may enjoy it.,” she said in Filipino in a press briefing Monday.

Last week, the month-long remote enrolment for the incoming school year began. Over 6.4 million students have registered their intent to enrol in the next school year, latest data from the department showed.

The school year 2020-2021 was scheduled to formally open on August 24 although there has been legislation to push that back if necessary.

‘No vaccine, no classes’

In late May, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not allow children to physically attend classes until a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.

The chief executive reiterated his position last week as he expressed doubts about the country’s capability is ready for DepEd’s distance learning approach as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

“No vaccine, no classes. Secretary Briones is insisting that there is an alternative there. She has a very good program for that like teleconferencing. The technology is good. I don’t know if we are ready for that,” he said.

“We are talking of students here, it’s millions. Does she have? But if she has or if we can afford it, we’ll buy it and she can proceed with her novel idea of how the children can continue with their education,” he added.

To date, the Philippines has reported 21,895 COVID-19 cases, with 1,003 fatalities. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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