Remember how, five months ago, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque had wanted to make Metro Manila “a living experiment”?
In an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source, Roque was asked about the probability of easing the National Capital Region’s quarantine protocols. “It’s an experiment that we believe we can be successful at, and it will be something that we can be proud of,” he said.
Well, today’s news gives off the same vibe. Roque revealed that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Department of Education’s recent recommendation: A pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in select schools in low-risk areas for the whole of January 2021.
To launch the dry-run, DepEd will coordinate with the COVID-19 National Task Force. “The pilot shall be done under strict health and safety measures, and where there is a commitment for shared responsibility among DepEd, local government units, and parents,” Roque said.
Though it’s a relief that participation isn’t mandatory, it won’t hurt to listen to the real call among students these past months. Hashtags embodying the Class of 2020’s appeals have dominated the interwebs—from an academic freeze to an academic break.
And the top call that affects even non-students? Mass testing (which, by the way, finally dawned on the President as a crucial need after nine long months of the pandemic). With continuing uncertainty about the local availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, are face-to-face classes really what we need right now?
“Inclusive education in the time of pandemic means children and young people are actively engaged in meaningful learning while health and well-being remain a top priority,” said Sarah Elago in an interview about the #LeaveNoStudentBehind movement.
As of writing, the Philippines has 450,733 COVID-19 cases with a death toll of 8,733. Let’s all keep that in mind while we think of re-opening classes again. Not unless, y’know, young people’s lives has never been this nation’s priority.
Art by Yel Sayo