Mayor on face-to-face classes: Covid case hike inevitable but expect no lockdowns

Mayor on face-to-face classes: Covid case hike inevitable but expect no lockdowns

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases would be inevitable with the resumption of face-to-face classes but this should not deter the continued conduct of in-person schooling to improve the students’ productivity and learning processes and avert the effects of virtual learning such as low level of assimilation of students.

“We need to learn how to live with the virus. We cannot anymore sacrifice the students’ educational needs that they cannot get from the virtual system. Kailangan na talagang pumasok ng mga estudyante,” the mayor said.

He emphasized the need to observe the minimum public health standards among students, like the wearing of face masks while inside the classroom and isolating themselves when experiencing symptoms.

The mayor assured that the city will no longer implement lockdowns regardless of the alert level saying the city’s goal has now shifted to learning to cope with the virus.

He expressed confidence that schools are now prepared to handle in-person learning in the new normal mode.  

The city had worked with the Dept. of Education and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to set the health and safety parameters to ensure students’ safety amid the conduct of F2F.

“They have been properly oriented and have undergone F2F trial runs and so we expect them to take the lead in ensuring that their students are following the health protocols for their safety,” he said.

The mayor said the return of students to F2F learning is necessary to prevent the learning crisis from worsening and to cut losses in students’ productivity brought about by school closures.

He said the two years of school closure has impacted the productivity of students and according to the National Economic Development Authority, the loss when translated to monetary value would mean billions of pesos worth of losses in terms of forgone future wages and productivity.

The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) early this year had raised the need to reopen schools saying the “risk of being in school is far greater than the risk of being in school.”

“Classroom learning must continue to avert the learning crisis aggravated by the closure because students are falling further behind in their learning and basic reading and math skills are in sharp decline for the most vulnerable students,” it said.

“Education is a powerful tool to fight poverty. Children with less schooling are more likely to live in poverty for the rest of their lives.  Besides, school closure is affecting the mental health of an entire generation of children,” it warned. – Aileen P. Refuerzo