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Lawmaker Urges DepEd: No Vaccine, No Classes

A lawmaker urges the Department of Education (DepEd) to postpone classes, whether physical or virtual, in public or private schools until a vaccine is found for COVID-19. The proposal has gained praise online, with many parents agreeing with the lawmaker to ensure everyone’s safety.

Deputy House Speaker and Pampanga 3rd district Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. filed Resolution No. 876 which calls on the DepEd to suspend the reopening of both public and private schools until a vaccine against COVID-19 is developed.

Photo credit: Philippine News Agency

Noting that the DepEd has announced the official opening of school year 2020-2021 on August 24, 2020 despite the continued COVID-19 pandemic, Gonzales believes this is not a good idea.

With the growing Covid-19 threat which is still present and imminent to the safety of our citizens, especially our children, it is imperative that we take all precautions and preventive actions to protect our people from the disease,” Gonzales explained.

Until and unless a vaccine against Covid-19 has been discovered and included in the Philippine national drug formulary,” the resolution seeks to express the collective sense of the House of Representatives for the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to suspend the resumption of classes, Gonzales further explained.

Photo credit: USA Today

Face-to-face classes would have to be conducted sooner than later if we want our children to learn. And here lies the problem, since it would be hard to require physical distancing in classrooms, especially in public schools, where a class is composed of no fewer than 40 students,” Gonzales added.

While there is a law that mandates that the start of classes should not be after August, Gonzales also invokes the constitutional provision that mandates the state to protect the health of its citizens, that includes students, in seeking the postponement of the reopening of schools.

He is also not in favor of distance learning, explaining that telecommunication signals are weak in the provinces. He also pointed out that internet and mobile phone communication is not also reliable even in many highly urbanized cities and towns.

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