“There is no conflict, no disagreement, no debate between the pronouncement of the president and the department because they’re exactly the same,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a virtual briefing.
Briones clarified that DepEd, like Duterte, would not allow face-to-face learning in crowded classrooms when classes reopen on August 24 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pareho ang posisyon namin dahil ayaw din namin dikit-dikit ang klase,” said Briones.
(Our stand is the same, we don’t want children to be in a crowded room.)
“I will not allow the opening of classes na magdikit dikit ‘yang mga bata. Bahala nang hindi na makatapos. For this generation walang makatapos na doktor pati engineer,” Duterte said Monday night.
(I will not allow the opening of classes to the point that children would be close to each other. Never mind those who will not finish school. For this generation, no one would graduate as a doctor and an engineer.)
“It spells disaster,” Duterte said, noting he would not risk the lives of students without a vaccine.
DepEd school opening remains unclear
The following day, Presidential Spokesperson said the enrollment for the school year 2020-2021 would proceed on June 1, creating confusion among parents and learners.
“Tuloy po yan dahil hindi naman po tayo pupuwede na walang preparasyon [it will proceed because we need to prepare],” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over Teleradyo.
“Sa atin po, kailangan tuloy pa rin ang preparasyon pero gaya ng aking nasabi, ayan po, sumipa po ang numero ng COVID-19 (cases). Madali naman po ‘yang ‘wag ituloy. Naghahanda po tayo sa possibility ng both face-to-face at saka blended learning,” Roque said.
(For us, we need to continue our preparation, but as I said, the number of COVID-19 cases spiked again. It is easy to cancel. We are just preparing for a possibility of both face-to-face and blended learning.)
Roque, however, clarified that the President pertains to the conduct of face-to-face classes.
He added that “no vaccine, no classes” does not mean that there would be a total postponement of classes since there are other educational platforms like radio, television, and the internet.
DepEd said students in public schools nationwide could enroll from June 1 to 30.