ECHOING the sentiments of President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go remains firm on his stand that face-to-face classes in schools must be put on hold first until more Filipinos are vaccinated to reach population protection and eventually herd immunity amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ang importante sa amin ni Pangulo ay ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” Go emphasized.
Go said in an interview at the Tondo Medical Center on Friday, July 16, during the launch of the 129th Malasakit Center that the government should first focus on the vaccination program before considering the resumption of face-to-face classes as the next school year nears.
“Let’s focus sa rollout sa ngayon at kapag nakamtan natin ang herd immunity, I’m sure papayag ang Pangulo at ako ay sang-ayon kay Pangulong Duterte na bawal muna ang face-to-face classes dahil delikado pa,” Go said.
Go added that amid the ongoing pandemic, he continues to favor the implementation of blended learning, emphasizing that the government cannot afford to put children’s health in danger if in case a COVID-19 outbreak happens in schools.
“Imbes na nakatutok ang ating mga government personnel sa pagbabakuna, pupunta na naman sa eskwelahan, ite-tracing na naman saan nanggaling, busy na naman po. We should focus right now sa pagbabakuna. Importante po tuluy-tuloy ang kaalaman ng mga kabataan bagama’t distance (blended) learning tayo,” Go said.
He also mentioned that the government does not want to waste the progress it has made in the fight against COVID-19 by taking the risk of conducting face-to-face classes this early.
“Importante po tuloy-tuloy ang kaalaman ng mga kabataan. May distance o blended learning naman tayo, importante po pumasa sila, umabot sa another level po ang mga estudyante… pasado at natuto sila,” he added.
President Duterte just approved the Department of Education’s recommendation to start the school year 2021-2022 on September 13. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, blended learning will be utilized for School Year 2021-2022, just as it was for the prior school year.
The DepEd is optimistic that the implementation of blended learning will improve in the coming school year, after making improvements in the previous academic year to address some problems.
Last year, Go also appealed to education authorities as well as those in government media to utilize various approaches and tools in order to lessen the burden of particularly poorer students who cannot afford to buy computer gadgets and those residing in remote places without or with limited internet connectivity as online class is one of the approaches under the blended learning set-up.
The senator stressed the importance of ensuring the health and safety of the students, teachers and wider community as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the nation.
Go, however, agreed that the education of the students cannot be put on a standstill. He urged DepEd and other concerned authorities to exert all efforts possible in improving further the blended learning system while face-to-face classes remain prohibited.
“Kawawa naman po mga bata, napi-pressure po ‘yung bata, malaking epekto po iyon sa kanila. Ang importante po, walang masayang na taon. Ang importante po matuto sila,” reminded Go.