Two teachers’ groups called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to postpone the opening of classes on a later date after Metro Manila, and nearby provinces reverted to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines expressed their concerns on how MECQ affected not only the teachers but also the parents and students’ preparation for school opening.
The Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna would be under MECQ from August 4 to 18 to help curb the increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.
As of August 6, DepEd’s data showed those areas under MECQ have the highest number of enrollees for the school year 2020-2021.
There are nearly eight million enrollees in regions placed under MECQ, which include 3,045,296 in Region IV-A (Calabarzon); 2,366,525 in Region III (Central Luzon) and 2,358,155 in NCR.
According to the national enrollment data from DepEd, there are 22.69 million students in both public and private schools that would attend the opening of classes in three weeks.
Of these figures, 21.18 million learners chose to enroll in public schools and 1.47 million in private schools.
“We already have teachers who tested positive for COVID-19 after doing tasks in schools while our learning modules remain unrealized,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas.
He added this situation should compel Education Secretary Leonor Briones to “move school opening to a much later date.”
The reimposition of MECQ in these areas, Basas said, has a crucial impact on the expected opening of classes on August 24 because it is “hampering, even more, the needed preparations.”
He said teachers are struggling to comply with the requirements of the opening of classes, especially those who would use alternative learning modalities under Blended/Distance Learning.
The limited movement of people causes delays in the reproduction of self-learning modules, especially the printed ones. Most parents and students prefer modular learning since online classes are costly, DepEd said.
“What we ask for DepEd leadership is to be open to talking to education frontliners, classroom teachers, know their thoughts and opinions on school opening,” Basas said.