ADDRESS first the several concerns raised by teachers and education advocacy groups before beginning limited face-to-face classes this school year.
This was the appeal of Quezon City Representative Alfred Vargas to the national government, particularly to the Department of Education, which is already planning to open schools in areas with low cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Among these concerns are additional hazard pay for teachers, enforcement of health protocols, and identifying courses where face-to-face classes are indispensable.
“Dapat lahat ng concerns ay paghandaan. Hindi po biro-biro ang resumption ng face-to-face classes, lalo na’t patuloy ang pagdami ng mga kaso ng COVID-19. The concerned government agencies must ensure that the health and safety of teachers, students, and school personnel are not compromised,” Vargas said.
“Health and safety should be a priority. All bases must be covered, and all protective measures should be in place and the protocols clearly stated and known by all. We don’t want face-to-face classes to be spreader events. Let’s not rush into it. Huwag po tayong magmadali,” he added.
Vargas, chairman of the House committee on social services, has filed House Resolution 2204 asking Congress to conduct an inquiry into the government’s implementation of blended and distance learning this school year, particularly the proposal to conduct limited and controlled face-to-face classes for practical exercises.
To date the DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH) are working on guidelines for the proposed re-opening of limited face-to-face classes in select schools.
Earlier, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) urged the government to resume face-to-face classes, citing lost educational opportunities for Filipino children.
In House Resolution 2204,Vargas noted that the DepEd and the DOH are jointly proposing the “pilot run” for limited face-to-face classes in 120 schools for students in the Kindergarten to Grade 3 Levels, subject to the approval of the President.
The resolution cited concerns “raised by teachers and educational groups particularly on the need for more technology-based training and support for teachers and more effective ways to teach practical exercises especially to senior high school students.”
Senior high school students, especially under the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL) tracks “might need more limited and controlled face-to-face classes for their specialized and practical exercises,” the resolution said.