Philippines postpones face to face classes until coronavirus vaccine is found

Face to face classes will not be implemented in the Philippines until a vaccine is found. The government is exploring options on how the August 24th school reopening will proceed.

The push for school reopening in the Philippines continues to divide many on the best approach during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Government agencies, teachers, teachers unions, and parents have all expressed their opinions on how they feel about school reopening during a pandemic.

Face to face classes objection

President Rodrigo Duterte, on June 5 reiterated his long-held position that schools should not be reopened until a coronavirus vaccine is found. In the statement, he also acknowledged DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones’s position that school could be reopened safely through the use of technology. This would be done by banning face to face classes until the vaccine is found. Therefore, students would need to migrate to virtual learning.

President Duterte continued by expressing doubts on his Education Secretary idea, where he cast doubt on whether the country could be capable of implementing her ideas. He, however, said that if upon evaluation, the government finds transitioning from face to face classes to online classes is a viable option, they would invest in the systems required for transition.

President’s directive

Briones, on her part, said her ministry would follow the guidelines released by the President. She said her ministry would postpone the face to face classes as directed by the Office of the President until a vaccine is found.

In a televised briefing, Briones responded to a question of whether her ministry would allow classes on islands to resume face to face classes, she said that if the government directs the ministry to implement the process of face to face classes in those locations, her ministry will move quickly to ensure students’ learning continues.

She acknowledged that some Islands such as Siquijor and Siargao islands had no coronavirus cases. Therefore the question of whether such areas should fully reopen schools was a good take but was still adamant about coming out clearly on whether her department would push for a full face to face school reopenings in those areas.

The Department of Education expects schools to be reopened on August 24. She indicated that Radio, television, online and modular learning would be used by students when schools reopen. Face to face classes will remain banned until a vaccine for coronavirus is found.


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