CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The deputy House speaker is calling for the postponement of the reopening of classes in all public and private schools until a vaccine against Covid-19 is developed and available in the country.
Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. said “face-to-face classes will be a problem since it would be hard to require physical distancing in classrooms, especially in public schools, where a class is composed of no fewer than 40 students.”
He said the postponement is contained in Resolution No. 876, which the House has referred to its Defeat Covid-19 Committee co-chaired by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.
The resolution seeks to express the collective sense of the House for the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infection Diseases to suspend the resumption of classes “until and unless a vaccine against Covid-19 has been discovered and included in the Philippine national drug formulary.”
Gonzales, who represents Pampanga’s third district, said despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the DepEd has set the official opening of the incoming school year on Aug. 24, 2020 until April 30, 2021.
He said even if the education department encourages distance learning through the Internet at the start of the school calendar, this is not possible in the provinces where telecommunication signals are weak.
Even in many highly urbanized cities and towns, Internet and mobile phone communication is not reliable, he said.
“Face-to-face classes would have to held conducted sooner than later if we want our children to learn. And here lies the problem, since it would be hard to require physical distancing in classrooms, especially in public schools, where a class is composed of no fewer than 40 students,” Gonzales stressed.
He invoked the constitutional provision mandating the state to protect the health of its citizens in seeking the postponement of the reopening of schools.
“With the growing Covid-19 threat which is still present and imminent to the safety of our citizens, especially our children, it is imperative that we take all precautions and preventive actions to protect our people from the disease,” he stressed.
Covered by his suspension proposal are classes in all schools, whether public or private, from pre-school to college, including vocational education and training.