SEVEN senators yesterday crossed party lines to file a resolution recommending the immediate pilot testing of localized limited face-to-face classes in 1,065 public schools in low-risk areas as identified by the Department of Education.
Senate Resolution 668, filed by Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, Francis Pangilinan, Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano, Joel Villanueva, and Juan Edgardo Angara, stressed the need for DepEd to conduct pilot face-to-face classes while “following stringent mitigation measures and strict health protocols.”
They said the prolonged closure of schools due to the pandemic have adversely affected the students’ learning curve, especially those who belong to the most vulnerable and marginalized sectors of society.
President Duterte has repeatedly rejected suggestions for the resumption of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas pending a massive vaccination drive.
Based on data from the DepEd, the closure of schools affected more than 28.4 million students from kindergarten to college.
“To avert a prolonged learning loss and minimize other potentially profound adverse social, developmental, and health costs that learners will suffer, the DepEd needs to immediately launch its pilot testing of localized limited face-to-face classes in identified 1,065 schools in low-risk areas,” the senators said.
“The pilot testing will enable the DepEd to gather evidence on the ground to guide its framework for the safe reopening of schools using a risk-based assessment to identify, analyze, and reduce the risks affecting each school,” they added.
The senators said the resumption of classes in select areas will also resume feeding programs to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic to students and their families.