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Duterte may allow face-to-face classes in low-risk areas – Palace

Duterte may allow face-to-face classes in low-risk areas

President Rodrigo Duterte may allow the pilot testing of face-to-face classes to low-risk areas, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Monday.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is set to present a plan to Duterte regarding the opening of physical classes, particularly in areas with fewer coronavirus diseases (Covid-19) infections.

“We agreed that a small group will present to the President. So it’s not really a Cabinet meeting — that is important but ‘yung (the) small group, that in principle, the AITF has agreed to — will make that presentation to the President,” he said during a Palace press briefing.

Roque said Duterte is considering the start of face-to-face classes in some areas seen to have a low number of Covid-19 transmission.

“He may allow it pero dapat pilot muna ang areas na mababa talaga ang kaso (He may allow it but it must be piloted in areas with low cases) so that we could — as I said pilot it, and see if it works, then, it can be implemented in other areas,” he said.

Roque said he wants to have an “intimate” meeting with Duterte to discuss the matter.

“The issue of face-to-face classes has been seen to be a purely education issue. It is a multi-disciplinary issue now involving the health department because of mental health issues, effect on the children, and the lack of socialization on the children as well an economic problem because we are dealing with the generation that could possibly be lost as a result of hybrid na ini-implement natin (that we are implementing),” he said.

The schedule of the meeting is already coordinated, Roque said.

“I want to schedule it as early as possible but we’re coordinating kasi (because) useless to discuss it in a body like a Cabinet meeting I want it to be an intimate meeting with the president just about the topic,” he said.

Considering the threat posed by the Delta coronavirus variant, Duterte earlier said he will allow the resumption of in-person classes once the country achieves population protection against Covid-19.