“If we reintroduce it, we believe that there should be a strong agreement of shared responsibility of key stakeholders including the parents, and the local government units… because without this, the DepEd will surely be blamed solely for any incidents of exposure and infection,” Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said in a Senate hearing. “There should be mechanisms to clarify the assignments of responsibilities.”
“This concern, your honor, is not just political on our part because it can really put at risk learning continuity altogether. In other words, it will strengthen the position and arguments of those that are advocating for academic freeze,” he added.
According to Malaluan, the advantages of face-to-face classes include supervision of time devoted to learning, formative assessment by teachers, and social interaction.
Earlier, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said DepEd is studying the possibility of gradually returning to face-to-face classes next year.
“Definitely, not this year [ang resumption ng face-to-face classes]. Definitely not until the President makes the announcement, but we are preparing a report to the President based on the current experience,” Briones said.
Face-to-face classes resumption a ‘shared responsibility’ – DepEd
“Klaro naman na ang magkakaroon lang ng face-to-face classes sa areas which are absolutely in safe conditions. Iyang [resumption ng] face-to-face clases, hindi sabay-sabay ‘yan. It will be very selective, and it will not happen this year,” she added.
Malaluan said Briones’ updated recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte is still being finalized.
Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate committee on basic education, said he favors localized and limited face-to-face learning workshops to help parents who could not teach their children at home.
He noted that massage parlors were already open, showing that the COVID-19 situation is getting better in some areas. Senators Imee Marcos and Nancy Binay also pointed out that cockpit arenas and tourism sites were also reopened.
The school year 2020-2021 opened last October 5, and face-to-face classes were suspended due to the threat of COVID-19 transmission.