F2F classes, Arat concert, and rallies

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

The common observation is that the push for face-to-face classes and face-to-face commencement exercises is not as strong as our tolerance for huge rallies and concerts.

While the Department of Health has reminded us that COVID-19 is still here, the left and right activities relative to the upcoming elections are very ironic. Hence, we cannot blame those who entertain doubts about COVID-19 and consequently remain stubborn on the government campaign on vaccination.

“Binuang ra ang COVID”, “Mugna ra ang COVID”, “Nawala ang COVID kay election naman”. These are common comments from ordinary people. What can be seen in the many political activities nowadays only cements the beliefs of those people.

How can the government convince them to be vaccinated? How can we get the herd immunity we need? How can they believe in vaccines when they have doubts on the existence of COVID-19 in the first place?

The latest proof of that was the Arat concert. Let us grant for a second that it was not political, although there were signs it was, attested to by the fact that Team Barug, led by Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and vice mayoralty candidate, Councilor Raymond Garcia, was in attendance.

I would like to assume that the organizers considered in their plan the number of people to be accommodated and that they had in their minds the protocols to be followed in view of the now seemingly-forgotten fight against COVID-19. However, the estimated 100,000 crowd that was accommodated shows that if they had such plans, they trashed them at the last minute.

“COVID is waving”, “IATF left the group” are just few of the comments we heard or saw. But very frankly, I don’t think there is a collective indignation. And this is because the hugeness of the crowd we saw at the Arat concert is not an isolated thing nowadays.

Look at the political rallies. The call for physical distancing becomes a thing of the past. Political parties, in an apparent show of force, gather their supporters, paid or not, by the thousands. Wait for their respective miting de avance! The crowds will get even bigger.

This is why parents and graduating students who wish to have a face-to-face graduation exercise have a point. How can we in conscience stop the holding of such programs which accommodate a fewer number of people compared to political rallies? That is a matter of common sense.

The same argument applies to the holding of face-to-face classes. An online class may have its own advantage. One of which is that parents do not have to spend for transportation. Their children can have more time to help, particularly in the aspect of livelihood.

However, it seems that online classes deprive students of so many things, not least of which is the social aspect of learning. The physical classroom has always been the place for students to share with others their experiences in learning.

Moreover, we all know that it is not easy to monitor a student’s learning online. Teachers have little control on who actually answers the quizzes or examinations. And when it comes to the modules, which proved to be a harrowing experience for many pupils and students, many parents answer for their children.

We must arrest this situation, the sooner the better. We are kidding ourselves if we look away.


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