The National Youth Commission (NYC) said it is proposing a mandatory health break for students in schools for the next academic year amid the challenges caused by distance learning.
The agency made the statement during the House appropriations committee hearing on the 2022 budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which has jurisdiction over the NYC.
“[W]e are proposing a mandatory mental health break to all schools for the next school year, that it will be adopted not just by the public schools but also by the private schools,” NYC Commissioner Alexa Dayanghirang said on Monday, September 6.
“In this span of one week, the students would be able to reboot their system and realize that this COVID-19 pandemic is just a phase and their life goes on,” she added.
Dayanghirang, however, said that the NYC backs the government’s decision not to resume face-to-face classes yet.
“For now, given the current situation of the Philippines, it’s not really the time yet for face-to-face classes, especially for our younger generations,” she said.
Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, who advocates for a phased reopening of schools, was not satisfied with Dayanghirang’s answer.
“It would be a great disservice for the Filipino youth if the NYC will not support this clarion call of youth and students for the safe return of all education stakeholders to limited face-to-face learning,” Elago said.
“There are millions of in-school youth and those involved in alternative learning systems that are affected by the huge divide in digital capabilities,” she added.
The Department of Education said on September 2 that a pilot run of limited face-to-face classes could be conducted in at least 120 schools in the country once President Rodrigo Duterte gives his go-signal.
Filipino students have resorted to distance learning for over a year now due to the coronavirus crisis. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund has said the Philippines is among only five countries in the world whose schools remain closed since the pandemic began in early 2020. – Rappler.com