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Group of Teachers challenge Duterte, DepEd Officials to ‘resolve’ problems first before dry run of face-to-face classes

Resolve problems first before dry run of face-to-face classes

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines asks President Duterte and DepEd Officials to “address first” the different problems in schools such as the lack of water supply, functional clinics and school nurses, and large class sizes before conducting face-to-face classes.

President Duterte has approved the dry run of face-to-face classes in COVID low-risk areas starting January 2021.

But, ACT emphasizes the things to resolve first before the resumption of face-to-face classes even in COVID low-risk areas.

“We have had enough of government orders that were not partnered with sufficient funding and ample preparations, as what had happened with distance learning where teachers and learners were ultimately left to fund for the needs and fend for themselves,” said ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio.

“This should not happen again with face-to-face classes, as it poses clear and present danger to the health and lives of the stakeholders, as such, Duterte and Education officials should stop issuing orders from their high tower and start doing their job,” Basilio said.

Basilio said that a low COVID-19 infection rate “does not guarantee” the safe return to schools. Especially in poor rural localities where school facilities are “least ideal and personnel are most wanting.”

ACT also challenged the national government to take on bigger funding responsibilities.

“We ask Pres. Duterte: What do you commit to contribute to ensure school safety in these areas when the Congress-approved 2021 budget effected big budget cuts on school infrastructure and facilities?” Basilio said.

“Our teachers and learners cannot be saved by face masks, alcohol and physical distancing alone,” Basilio said.

“We are dealing with active children here,the best protection for them is a safe, preventive and pandemic-responsive learning environment,” he added.

“There should also be no compromise in the implementation of the [15-students-per-class maximum] to allow for the observance of physical distancing,” Basilio said.

“Needless to say, the government has to fill in the shortages on teachers and classrooms to make this possible,” he added.

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