3 lawmakers favor gradual reopening of face-to-face classes

At least three House Representatives supported the proposed gradual resumption of face-to-face classes starting January next year.

Iligan City Representative Frederick Siao, BHW party-list Representative Angelica Natasha Co, and ACT-CIS party-list Representative Jocelyn Tulfo backed the proposal with terms and conditions.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the dry run of face-to-face classes on select schools in January.

Tulfo suggested beginning the reopening of classes at the college level.

“If and when the campuses reopen for face to face classes, it is probable the reopening would be gradual starting with the college level and graduate school level. Thereafter, the senior high schools, followed by the junior high schools, and lastly, the Kinder to Grade 6,” she said.

“At the very least, the college campuses should start reopening in the second half of 2021, while classes could resume in campuses under strict quarantine measures in late 2021,” she added.

Meanwhile, Siao, chair of the House Committee on Professional Regulation, recommended opening campuses as licensure examination venues.

“Board exams can resume safely in MGCQ areas and more spacious locations so that up to two meters of physical distancing can be followed, along with the use of face masks, face shields, and other precautions,” he said.

“Campuses of the state universities and colleges would be suited for having safe board exams,” he added.

Gradual reopening of face-to-face classes

Professional Regulation Commission () halted licensure examinations this year due to the pandemic but said it eyes resumption of the PRC board exams in the second half of 2021.

“We have manpower shortages and oversupply. The shortages are what I am worried about. All those Build-Build-Build and housing backlogs need engineers, architects, master plumbers, and master electricians,” Siao said.

“Two years of no board exams for those professions will be felt at workplaces everywhere,” he added.

For Co, students and teachers should be vaccinated first before they could attend face-to-face classes.

“Although the home is everyone’s first school, the bottom line is that inadequate are all efforts to conduct formal schooling through modules, blended learning, learning, and distance learning via tv and radio. All of those efforts are coping mechanisms,” Co said.

“Effective adjustment to life under the new can be best achieved by having the students and teachers vaccinated so that they can return to their schools for face-to-face classroom sessions,” she added.