To help boost public confidence on the resumption of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas, Senator Win Gatchalian said it is crucial to contain the spread of COVID-19 and inoculate more people against the virus.
According to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, suppressing the spread of the virus is the best way to assure parents and learners of their safety following the surge of infections last March.
In a public briefing on the Philippines’ economic performance for the first quarter of 2021, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said that implementing quarantine relaxations in a phased approach will boost economic recovery once the surge is contained. Moreover, the economic managers of the country, in a joint statement, said that eased restrictions would allow more families and their children to participate in economic activities and restart face-to-face schooling.
The inclusion of basic education frontliners in the A4 priority group is a boost to prevent adult-to-adult transmission in schools when limited face-to-face classes are allowed, said Gatchalian. According to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, those in the A4 priority group can be inoculated by June depending on the country’s vaccine supply. The vaccination of the general population is also expected to begin by August.
The lawmaker also explained that should public health conditions remain unfavorable for limited face-to-face classes, Republic Act No. 11480 empowers the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Education, to move the opening of classes during a state of calamity or emergency. Gatchalian is the principal sponsor and co-author of Republic Act No. 11480.
Republic Act No. 7797, which Republic Act No. 11480 amended, originally mandated that classes should open between the first Monday of June and the last day of August.
Under Adopted Resolution No. 92, which Gatchalian sponsored and the Senate adopted last March, participation in limited face-to-face classes should be voluntary and with expressed permission by parents and guardians.
“Kung mapapababa natin ang ating mga kaso ng COVID-19 at mabigyan ng bakuna ang mas marami nating mga kababayan, magiging mas kampante ang ating mga magulang at mga mag-aaral na makilahok sa limited face-to-face classes. Bagama’t patuloy ang edukasyon, prayoridad pa rin natin ang kaligtasan at kapakanan ng bawat guro at mag-aaral,” said Gatchalian.