IATF to present to Duterte advantages of face-to-face class pilot testing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 26) — A number of Inter-Agency Task Force members are expected to present to President Rodrigo Duterte the advantages of resuming onsite classes especially in areas with low COVID-19 cases, the presidential spokesperson said on Thursday.

Harry Roque said in a briefing the recommendations could be presented before classes begin next month. Classes in elementary and high school will open on September 13.

“Naghahanda po ng presentasyon ang ilang piling miyembro ng IATF para kay Presidente, para maipakita na yung advantages ngayon na magsimula ng pilot [test] outweighs the disadvantages na hindi tayo nagfe-face-to-face,” he said

[Translation: Some members of the IATF are preparing a presentation to the President, to show that the advantages of the pilot face-to-face classes outweighs the disadvantages of online classes.]

“Sa tingin ko po bago magbukas ang ating pasukan sa Setyembre ay at least magkakaroon ng presentation,” Roque added.

[Translation: I think before the classes open on September, there could be a presentation at least.]

Roque said the number of vaccinated people will be a factor in Duterte's decision.

“Sa Metro Manila po, malapit na po tayo sa 50%. Bagamat sa buong Pilipinas po talaga, kailangan pong humabol ng ibang rehiyon....Pero papunta na po tayo, dahil meron naman talagang mga lugar na napakatagal nang MGCQ [modified general community quarantine]. So baka pwede doon sa mga lugar na ‘yun,” he said.

[Translation: In Metro Manila, almost 50% are vaccinated. But nationwide, other regions need to catch up...We are on our way there, because there are areas under MGCQ and I think we can reopen schools there.]

Roque said other factors are risk classification by the IATF, the local economy, and approval of the local government unit.

Senators earlier questioned the Department of Education for its supposed lack of urgency in gradually resuming face-to-face classes even as some countries have returned to the physical classroom setup.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund Philippines has renewed its call to gradually reopen schools as online classes have resulted in a number of issues like child labor and marriage.