Gatchalian clarifies proposal on face-to-face classes

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    SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian yesterday clarified that he did not propose the full opening of classes but rather at least once-a-week classes for a few hours in low-risk areas only.

    “I’m not pushing for a full opening of classes, we have to do it localized and we do it limited. In fact, some of the LGUs have requested for a (district) workshop. They’re not requesting for five days a week. They are requesting for one day in a week or maybe a few hours in a day,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

    Interior Secretary Eduardo Año last Sunday criticized Gatchalian and another senator, Imee Marcos, for proposing the resumption of face-to-face classes, saying is it dangerous and premature and can lead to a spike in COVID cases.

    Gatchalian said he floated the idea of resuming face-to-face classes only in low risk areas or places having low cases of COVID-19.

    He said face-to-face classes are important so students can comprehend well what is being taught them by teachers via the internet or distance learning modules.

    “What’s important is for the students to have an engagement with their teachers because without engagement, students will have a hard time absorbing what are being taught,” Gatchalian said.

    Gatchalian said the country can adapt measures from other countries that have allowed the resumption of face-to-face classes.

    Marcos said the spread of the deadly virus can be prevented if health protocols are always observed.

    “We are among the last countries, if not the last, following Nigeria in October, to reopen our schools! The fact is that face-to-face classes have been proven not to be superspreaders, provided strict health protocols are in place,” Marcos said.

    “And no, I am not invoking wholesale school openings and the return to a full in-school schedule. What mothers, teachers and students – as well as their community and local leaders – look forward to is the option to start even one-hour face-to-face classes a few times a week, as part of the blended learning effort,” she added.