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Parental consent needed in dry run of F2F classes

THE Department of Education (DepEd) said they will still evaluate the compliance with criteria and readiness of schools after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the department’s proposal to conduct a dry run on face –to- face classes in areas with low COVID-19 risk in January 2021.

According to DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, the Cabinet meeting was still ongoing when the statement from Spokesperson Harry Roque was reported.

What was presented by the secretary was for pilot or dry run only on very select schools in select areas with low risk (at least MGCQ in classification)” Malaluan said in a DepEd Media viber group.

While , they have a list of nominated schools from regions, they will still evaluate their compliance with criteria and readiness.

Duterte and the Cabinet approved on Monday night the DepEd’s proposal to conduct a dry run on in-person classes in select schools in low COVID-risk areas.

Roque said the pilot implementation of the limited in-person classes will run for the whole month of January 2021.

Participation in in-person classes will be voluntary, and students will need their parents’ permission before they are allowed to join, Roque said.

The DepEd will work with the National Task Force on COVID for the pilot project, he said.

Health protocols, must be strictly observed, he added.

The pilot shall be done under strict health and safety measures,” he said.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones told in a television interview that parental consent is needed.

Kailangan may pahintulot ng magulang ang face to face,limitahan ang mga student na papayagan sa face to face classes sa ilang lugar. Yung parental consent-pipirma ang magulang kung papayagan nila ang mga anak nila,” said Briones.

The DepEd chief added they will ask regional directors for their comments regarding the face-to-face classes in 2021.

May ilang LGU gusto ng face to face classes, pero sa National Capital Region (NCR) impossible, sa province sa low COVID-risk areas pwede,” she added.

However, the Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that although classes will be voluntary, it is still not certain that children, teachers and parents will be safe if they continue to dry-run for face to face classes.

Benjo Basas ,national chairperson of TDC, explained that according to studies, children can become ‘super spreaders’ of the virus if they become infected. Even if it is optional for students, it may not be optional for teachers .

In recent months, DepEd has registered a large number of teachers infected with COVID-19 and unfortunately, DepEd is not ready to provide the necessary assistance to the aforementioned teachers. It is even clearer that they got the case of the virus because of performing their work.

In our case, important factors such as the COVID situation in the community, the capacity of schools and LGUs in implementing health protocols, the readiness of the assistance that the school and community may need and the readiness of our teachers need to be considered for such a situation”, the statement said.

The group added, if this is not possible, it may be best to pursue the distance-learning modalities that have begun, despite their many shortcomings. Because in the event of holding limited face to face classes, surely only a few communities can do so and only a few children can participate in the program.

DepEd Central Office officials should step down from their offices and look at the real situation in schools across the country in order to implement appropriate policies to address the problems.

Above all, DepEd would have consulted his teachers. All the plans and programs implemented by DepEd since the country was subjected to the pandemic tragedy have not made in-depth consultations with its teachers, the frontliners of education”.

The group urged to just wait for the expected vaccine before continuing the face to face classes.