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Address needs of schools while classes are suspended, teachers' group urges gov't


A teachers’ group on Tuesday called on the government to take advantage of the suspension of classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic to prepare schools for alternative modes of teaching.

“Ang tinitingnan namin, habang may pandemya, gamitin natin ang pagkakataon na i-ready 'yung mga paaralan,” said Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines Secretary General Raymond Basilio in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said classes will remain suspended until a vaccine against the new coronavirus disease is available to protect the health of students. Malacanang on Tuesday said the President was referring to face-to-face classes.

But according to Basilio, the opening of classes should not only depend on the availability of the vaccine but also to the preparedness of school facilities to offer safe and effective ways for learning.

“Ang sa amin kasi, ang panawagan namin ay tugunan 'yung pangangailangan ng eskuwelahan habang wala pang pasukan,” he said.

Even with Duterte favoring the continuous suspension of classes, Basilio said teachers are still expected to work.

He said the Department of Education (DepEd) should establish health systems and educational materials for the alternative approach of teaching without the physical attendance of students in schools.

Basilio urged the DepEd to engage in dialogue with teachers' grouups, parents, and students on how to address the matter.

He also reitereted their call to include teachers and other school personnel in mass testing for COVID-19.

“Naniniwala kami na  importante pa rin talaga ‘yung pagkokondukta noong halimbawa mass testing sa ating mga kaguruan, at mga kawani [ng paaralan],” Basilio said.

The Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) backed Duterte's decision to suspend the opening of classes, according to a report on 24 Oras News Alert on Tuesday.

It said the DepEd can now focus on preparing for the changes in schooling setup and on preparing teachers for the adjustments in teaching modalities.

While the classes are suspended, TDC said, the Congress can work on amending the law to change the school year period from June to August. --Joviland Rita/KBK/BM, GMA News