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Manila Bulletin : Assure safety of students, teachers for pilot face-to-face classes

News & Interviews
2 November 2021

By Manila Bulletin

Presidential aspirant and Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is calling on the government to assure that health protocols are followed when the pilot face-to-face classes start.

“Kailangang tiyakin ang kaligtasan ng mga bata at ng mga guro. Pagtibayin ang coordination at cooperation ng lokal na pamahalaan, Department of Health (DOH), at Department of Education (DepEd), para sa maayos na implementation ng programa (We need to assure the safety of the children and teachers. We have to strengthen the coordination and cooperation of the local government, Department of Health, and Department of Education, for the orderly implementation of the program),” said the former lawmaker, who is known for promoting the welfare of the education sector.

Aside from observing health and safety protocols, Marcos advised the DepEd to only send vaccinated teachers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He also asked the education agency to encourage teachers and school personnel to get vaccinated to ensure that students will be safe, especially that the DOH has started its inoculation to teenagers aged 12 to 17 years old.

“Other countries, ang experiences nila (the experiences they had) was that there were risks involved in having non-vaccinated teachers and staff when they went back to face-to-face classes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that at least we are trying to start face-to-face classes. It is actually good news because that is a very good sign that, somehow, we are slowly going back to normalcy,” Marcos said.

In the memorandum issued by the DepEd, all public schools nationwide are required to use the School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT) in preparation for the expansion phase and transitioning to new normal face-to-face classes. President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a total of 120 public and private schools to join the two-month pilot run that starts on November 15.

The former Ilocos Norte governor told parents that the program is on a voluntary basis and they have to give a signed consent if they want to allow their children to join the pilot classes.

“Maging tayong mga magulang ay dapat nakatutok din sa kaligtasan ng ating mga anak. Pero ako naman ay naniniwala na pinag-aralang mabuti ng pamahalaan ang hakbang na ito at maaari nga ay kailangan na talagang magkaroon ng face-to-face classes para sa mental health ng kabataan (Even us parents need to focus on the safety of our children. But I believe that the government has studied carefully this step and it may be necessary to have face-to-face classes for the mental health of our young people),” Marcos said. (Melvin Sarangay)