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Gatchalian urges vigilance as more NCR schools join dry run of F2F classes
WHILE Senator Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian welcomed the addition of more schools in the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes, he pressed the need for continued vigilance especially as the world monitors the threat of the Omicron variant.
Some 177 more schools joined yesterday’s pilot run of limited in-person learning. In the National Capital Region (NCR), 28 schools were selected to join the pilot program.
For Gatchalian, expanding the pilot run of in-person learning should go hand-in-hand with accelerated vaccination of teachers and eligible learners, sustained implementation of minimum public health standards, and regular COVID-19 testing for teachers.
“Magandang balita ang pagpapalawig ng dry run ng limited face-to-face classes ngunit dapat ipagpatuloy natin ang pag-iingat at pagpapabakuna, lalo na’t hinaharap natin ang banta ng Omicron variant. Gamitin natin ang pagkakataong meron tayo upang matuto kung paano natin matitiyak ang ligtas na pagbabalik ng mga kabataan sa mga paaralan” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
Gatchalian also thanked the teachers, personnel, and school officials who led school preparations for in-person classes.
“Nagpapasalamat at nagbibigay pugay po ako sa mga guro, mga non-teaching staff, mga school officials, supervisors, at superintendents para sa kanilang patuloy na dedikasyon. Simula noong sumiklab ang pandemya hanggang sa unti-unting pagbubukas ng ating mga paaralan, ang ating mga education frontliners ang nanguna sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon,” said Gatchalian.
While it remains unclear whether Omicron is more transmissible and causes more severe disease, the World Health Health Organization (WHO) maintained that effective public health measures such as physical distancing, wearing of masks, washing of hands, and vaccination against COVID-19 should be continued.
A preliminary study by scientists from South Africa also said that compared to other variants such as Beta and Delta, Omicron is at least three times more likely to cause reinfection. The study has been uploaded to a preprint server and has not been peer-reviewed.