Philippines transitions to online schooling amid coronavirus

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The upcoming school year in the Philippines will push through as planned but the government was still not keen on allowing face-to-face classes.

The Office of the President announced on Monday that the school year 2020-2021 will not halt and that areas with virus infections will transition to online learning by August 24.

“It does not mean that there will be no classes when … President (Rodrigo Duterte) said he will not allow students to crowd inside a classroom,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a televised press briefing.

The OP said that schools will implement various methods in teaching students such as technology-mediated learnings through the use of smartphones and computers, as well as radio, television, and other offline methods.

In a televised address late on Sunday, Duterte said that he was not inclined to allow the reopening of face-to-face classes and risk the safety of students until a vaccine is developed.

“It is useless to talk about the opening of classes when there is no vaccine yet against the [virus],” he said.

“For this generation, no one will finish medicine [courses], even engineering because there’ll be no lessons. Let them play unless I am sure that they are really safe,” he added.

However, Roque announced that some schools under areas placed under the general community quarantine (GCQ) can resume in-person classes not earlier than September 1.

Meanwhile, new protocols will be implemented under areas still in enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or the stricter mode of quarantine.

“There will also be the cancellation of extracurricular activities where there are large crowds like school sports, campus journalism, job fairs and others,” Roque said.

Metro Manila, or the National Capital Region, is currently under modified ECQ as infections cracked past the 15,000 level.

The Inter-Agency Task Force, the working group tasked to respond to affairs concerning emerging infectious disease, has yet to decide on the fate of Metro Manila, which lockdown will lapse on May 31.

Reports, however, said that the metropolis will transition into GCQ amid fears of a crashing economy due to an over-two-month strict lockdown.