THE Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will be pushing for the start of limited face-to-face classes in basic education before the end of the month.
This as some lawmakers, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) expressed concern over the negative effects of the long suspension of face-to-face classes on children and the economy.
Among the negative effects are learning loss and mental distress for students, and economic losses for schools.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the select IATF members plan to make the presentation to President Duterte before the start of classes for public schools in September 2021.
“I think the presentation should be ready soon. But this is just a presentation to help the President make a decision if the pilot [of face-to-face classes] could be done at least in areas where there are low Covid-19 cases,” Roque said in an online press briefing on Thursday.
He said the select members of the IATF will show to Duterte how the advantages of the pilot face-to-face class outweighs its disadvantages.
The pilot areas, Roque said, will likely be in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
“Let us wait for the President to have the necessary confidence [before he approves the face-to-face classes],” Roque said.
Last year, Duterte already approved the proposal of the Department of Education (DepEd) to start the pilot test.
However, he decided to suspend its implementation in December 2020, after cases of the Alpha variant of the Covid-causing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) were spotted in the country.
Duterte said he will only allow the start of face-to-face classes for young students if a significant portion of the population is already vaccinated against Covid-19.