UP Experts Urge Gov’t to Suspend Classes until December to Stop COVID-19

With the Philippines still experiencing a daily increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, ranging from 100 to 300 new cases per day, experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) urged the government to suspend classes until December 2020.

Based on a model prepared by the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team, people under the 0 to 19 age-bracket have the highest social interaction at 56%. This means that 56% of all interactions are found in this age group, explained UP Resilience Institute executive director Mahar Lagmay.

The number decreases with each age bracket. According to the model, 29% of interactions are among people ages 20 to 39, 13% are among those ages 40 to 59, and the remaining 2% are those from ages 60 and above.

Base doon sa mga models, kapag walang klase hanggang December ay malaki po ang maibabawas natin sa transmission ng COVID-19,” Lagmay told CNN Philippines.

Photo credit: Business World Online / Philippine Star – Miguel Guzman

Although there has been no sharp rise in the new cases of COVID-19 during the past week, health experts said that it is too early to say that the Philippines has reached plateau and is finally ‘flattening the curve’.

Roque: No Decision Yet from Gov’t

President Rodrigo Duterte is yet to make a decision whether school will start in June or if they would follow the recommendation of health experts to suspend classes until December, revealed Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. However, he acknowledged the wisdom of this advice.

Malaki po ang maitutulong sa pagbagal ng pagkalat ng sakit kung isu-suspinde ang mga klase hanggang college level,” Roque said.

Although meron din isang eksperto na nagsabi kagabi na ‘aalahanin po n’yo na kapag sinuspend n’yo ang klase wala ring medical students na maga-graduate’ sa panahon na kailangan din natin ng mga medical graduates, tsaka ‘yung mga nursing graduates.

Photo credit: Panay News

The Department of Education (DepEd) has not released the school calendar for SY 2020-2021 but had announced earlier in the year that classes will likely begin on June 1.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, whoever, this remains an open date; though Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that it might be possible for classes to start by August. However, this is subject to the approval of the President, based on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

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