In a latenight televised meeting to address the nation, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he will not allow the opening of classes unless students are safe. He added that children will resort to play and no doctors nor engineers will be produced.
This pronouncement of the President contradicted the previous announcement made by DepEd that classes will reopen on the 24th of August. DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones justified the department’s pronouncement saying that the law provides that a school year should start as early as June 1 but not later than the last day of August.
Meanwhile, many parents and caregivers expressed agreement with the President’s statement on the premise that even if education is important, children’s health is more important. Others opined that not all learners can have access to online learning, especially the poverty-stricken learners and those living in remote areas.
Other groups slammed the President’s statement as they pointed at the adverse effect of not opening the school year to private school teachers and the learners. The closure of schools this school year can cause private school teachers their source of livelihood and employment. This sector did not also receive assistance from the social amelioration launched by the government. Others contend that nonopening of classes will impact students’ mental and psychological development. They are also worried with possibility that no new doctors, nurses, and teachers will be produced.
The reopening of schools serves as the core of bouncing back economically. Other countries in Europe such as Germany, Holland, and Denmark have restarted opening schools. In Germany test kits are made available for students prior to entering their classes. In Denmark, learners were two yards apart. During recess, children are allowed to play in small groups. These European countries decided to reopen schools despite the expressed fear and anger of parents and other stakeholders.