Philippines to ease into return to classrooms starting September

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Philippines to ease into return to classrooms starting September
Staff of Dagat Dagatan Elementary School in Navotas City prepare the classroom and other materials needed on Sept. 16, 2021 once the government allows the resumption of face-to-face classes.
The STAR / Geremy Pintolo, file

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Sara Duterte — concurrently education secretary — has proposed the conduct of full in-person classes by November, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Tuesday, even as the Philippines continues to record an uptick in the number of COVID-19 infections.

Speaking to reporters after the first Cabinet meeting of his administration, Marcos said phased face-to-face classes would be implemented in September before the conduct of full in-person learning.

"There are some things that are immediately accessible in the sense that we can start doing something about it already. The first thing that is an example of that was Inday Sara's announcement that we have a plan for full face-to-face by November of this year," Marcos said.  

"(In) September, we will start a phased face-to-face schooling. And that face-to-face will end up in early November," he added.

Marcos said implementing full face-to-face classes would require discussions on COVID-19 vaccination "because there are going to be some issues that will be raised."

Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority expressed support for the resumption of face-to-face classes, saying it would enhance productivity and learning outcomes and create more business activity.

Former NEDA director-general Karl Chua had said implementing in-person learning would increase economic activity by P12 billion per week because of the resumption of services around schools like transport, dormitories, food stalls, and school materials.

The holding of face-to-face classes, not just the easing of pandemic restrictions, is necessary to achieve full economic recovery, he added.

The education department previously said 34,238 schools have been nominated for the conduct of in-person classes as of May 26. A huge majority or 33,000 of them are public schools while the rest are private learning institutions. 

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