Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines National President and Quirino Governor Dax Cua on Monday cautioned against the premature resumption of face-to-face classes, and urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to first draw up a viable plan that will show that it is possible for students to safely return to their classrooms.
“None of us want the education of our children to be disrupted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. At the same time, we want to make sure that they can continue learning safely, which is why local government units (LGUs) are pitching in to make online and distance education possible,” said Cua.
“The input of LGUs is vital here as, one, we are at the frontlines of efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus in our jurisdictions; and, two, because we will be responsible for helping execute whatever measures the DepEd plans to propose.”
According to the Quirino governor: “the DepEd should work in tandem with doctors to propose a concrete, doable plan for the resumption of face-to-face classes, and present it to those that will be tasked to implement these plans, such as LGUs.”
“The input of LGUs is vital here as, one, we are at the frontlines of efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus in our jurisdictions; and, two, because we will be responsible for helping execute whatever measures the DepEd plans to propose,” explained Cua.
“Simple lang po ang mungkahi namin: walang plano, walang face-to-face classes.”
The former legislator said that he agreed with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, who warned against rushing students back to school.
“Let’s not rush this, because the question here is, while there are those calling for this (measure), who would be responsible for that? You’re quick to recommend it, but it would turn out you don’t have a responsibility for that,” said Año in a radio interview.
Cua stressed that he shared the sentiments of LGU chiefs who believe the position of President Rodrigo Duterte to resume face-to-face classes only when a vaccine become available “is still the most sensible position regarding this matter.”
“Let’s not rush this, because the question here is, while there are those calling for this (measure), who would be responsible for that?
“There are indications that the vaccine will be ready to roll out by next year. If that is the case, it would appear that the more prudent path would be to wait for the vaccine before resuming face-to-face classes to put parents’ minds at ease,” stressed Cua, who added that he, too, has school-age children.
Cua pointed out that resuming classes with new anti-Covid protocols “will require a learning curve that may cause class disruptions or cause students additional stress as they and their families adjust to whatever precautions are put in place.”
“Learning during the pandemic is challenging for our children, not just because of the modality adopted but because they have seen the effects of this virus,” lamented Cua.
“We have to keep in mind that if we let them go to class without a vaccine and COVID-19 still in our midst, children will be learning in an environment with this sword over their heads––so we have to make sure that if we resume face-to-face classes, we can guarantee their health and safety.”