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MANILA, Philippines – Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said on Thursday, October 6, that the return to face-to-face classes of basic education students in the country was a major achievement in her first 100 days in office.
“Ang pinakamahalaga na masasabi ko na nagawa natin as a country is naibalik natin ‘yung ating in-person classes sa ating mga eskwelahan,” Duterte told reporters.
(For me, the biggest achievement we have done for our country is the return of in-person classes in schools.)
The Vice President will mark her first 100 days in office on Saturday, October 8.
“Marami ang studies na nagsasabi na mas malaki ang benepisyo para sa isang estudyante kung meron siyang in-person classes. Kaya napakahalaga na nabalik natin ang option na iyon sa ating mga eskwelahan,” the Vice President said.
(There have been studies that said there’s a big benefit for students if they have in-person classes. That’s why it was really important that we brought back that option to schools.)
After two years of implementing distance learning due to the pandemic, schools in the Philippines returned face-to-face classes on August 22 during the start of school year 2022 to 2023.
Not all schools resumed lessons in physical classrooms – 1,004 schools are still implementing remote classes. Although, all schools have been told to shift to five days of face-to-face classes beginning November 2, exemptions can be given in “very specific areas,” the Department of Education (DepEd) earlier said.
The country has some 47,000 public schools and about 13,000 private schools.
Over 28 million were enrolled for school year 2022-2023 – more than the previous year’s 26.3 million students.
Students getting infected with COVID-19
The DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH) said that cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in schools. Although, both could not give a definite number of cases as they are still “harmonizing” data.
Duterte said that COVID-19 infections in schools are a “natural consequence” of the return to face-to-face classes.
“Sa lahat naman ng mga lugar no, hindi lang sa mga eskwelahan, even sa ating mga workplaces, mayroon talagang COVID-19 [infections]. This is a natural consequence ng ating pagbalik sa mga trabaho, sa ating paaralan, sa ating mga simbahan, at sa mga mall,” Duterte said.
(In all areas, I think, not only in schools, even in our workplace, we have COVID-19 infections. This is a natural consequence of the return to workplaces, schools, churches, and malls.)
On Tuesday, October 4, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire urged parents anew to get their children vaccinated. Vergeire also said that recorded infections were expected since students are now back to face-to-face classes. But she stressed that cases remained mild.