Physical classes remain no-no
This after President Rodrigo Duterte rejected anew the Department of Education’s proposal to hold pilot face-to-face classes.

Physical classes remain no-no

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - June 23, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — With the threat posed by the Delta COVID-19 variant and the herd immunity is yet to be achieved, face-to-face classes for school year 2021 and thereafter are still far from happening.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte rejected anew the Department of Education’s proposal to hold pilot face-to-face classes.

Duterte cited the presence of the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant and the need to vaccinate a majority of the population.

“I am not inclined to agree with you (Sec. Briones) .Mahirap. I cannot gamble on the health and safety of the children…I hope you understand,” Duterte told Education Secretary Leonor Briones during  a pandemic task force meeting aired Monday night.

The president in December last year suspended the approval of the same proposal due to the presence of a COVID-19 variant first seen in the United Kingdom, now referred to as the Alpha variant.

Briones shortly after withdrew her department’s request for face-to-face classes, telling Duterte that she fully accepted his decision.

 “We are withdrawing our request in light of your decision and we fully accept your decision,” said Briones.

Briones earlier was hoping for support even for selected schools that qualify for a face-to-face. From over a thousand, DepEd trimmed the number down to only a hundred schools from different parts of the country supposedly for the resumption of face-to-face classes.

But with COVID-19 and new variants threatening the public, Briones said they are not going to risk it.

“We do not want to risk it, the 27 million children and our teachers. Besides we are part of the Executive and whatever is being decided, we support and cooperate especially on a professional matter,” she said.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus was first identified in India. According to a report from Reuters, the World Health Organization said it is becoming the globally dominant variant of COVID-19.

As of Monday, local health authorities have detected 17 cases of the Delta variant in the country.

Duterte had long been saying that once everyone gets vaccinated, face-to-face learning may already resume.

Since the Philippines began its inoculation campaign three months ago, it has administered 8,050,711 doses of the COVID-19 jab, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Sunday. Of these, only 2,096,901 have received both doses needed for full vaccination.

The figure represents only 1.9 percent of the population, remaining far from the 50 to 70 million targeted by officials this year to reach herd immunity.

Earlier, the FDA has already approved the amendment of Pfizer’s Emergency Use Authority including 12 to 15 years-olds already, but Galvez said, children and not yet in the priority list at the moment.

China has also approved Sinovac’s EUA for children ages 3 to 17, but it has not yet applied any amendments in the country at the moment. — Philstar.com, KQD (FREEMAN)

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