Senator Win Gatchalian backs the progressive expansion of limited face-to-face classes in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2, calling the move a crucial next step in the recovery of the basic education sector from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently approved the recommendation of the Department of Education (DepEd) to expand limited face-to-face classes. According to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, only vaccinated teaching and non-teaching staff will be allowed to participate in the limited face-to-face classes while vaccinated learners will be given preference.
For Gatchalian, this presses the urgency of vaccinating minors aged 5 to 11 to further boost the confidence of parents and learners. He also reiterated his call on local government units to prepare for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines among 5-to-11-year-olds.
The government is eyeing the vaccination of minors aged 5 to 11 by February. According to National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, Jr., the target is to vaccinate 15.56 million minors aged 5 to 11 this year.
“Habang unti-unti nating binubuksan ang mga paaralan, lalo na ‘yung nasa itinuturing na may low at minimal risk ng COVID-19, nananatiling prayoridad ang pagbibigay natin ng proteksyon sa ating mga mag-aaral. Kaya naman isinusulong natin ang pagbabakuna sa mga batang may edad 5 hanggang 11 upang matiyak ang kanilang kaligtasan,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
There were 287 schools and around 15,000 learners that participated in the pilot run of limited face-to-face classes. According to DepEd, no COVID-19 infection was recorded among those who participated in the pilot run.
The DepEd added that attendance in limited face-to-face classes is high at 83%. Earlier this month, the DepEd shared results of a survey showing that 97% of learners from Grades 1 to 3 and 86% of senior high school students were satisfied with their overall experience of face-to-face classes.