Senator Christopher "Bong" Go on Thursday said the opening of classes, slated in less than two weeks, should be rescheduled to October to ensure stakeholders' safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic and their readiness to use alternative learning platforms.
“Umaapela ako sa Executive branch na kung maaari ay i-postpone muna ng ilan pang buwan ang pagbubukas ng klase habang wala pang bakuna sa COVID-19. Huwag nating isugal ang buhay at kaligtasan ng ating mga kabataan," Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said in a statement.
He added that this deferment would buy students, teachers, and parents a little more time to adjust to distance learning.
"Karamihan sa atin hirap pa mag-transition sa alternative modes tulad ng online transactions at online learning. Ang internet hindi rin reliable, tapos 'yung offline modes of learning naman pinaghahandaan pa rin," he said.
"Kung hindi pa handa, huwag nating pilitin. Magiging kawawa ang mga estudyante, kawawa ang mga teachers. Hirap na po ang mga Pilipino, huwag na nating dagdagan pa ng pressure ang mga bata at mga magulang nila," he addded.
Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Francis Tolentino, on the other hand, called for the postponement of the opening of classes only in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones, however, maintained that the school year will officially start on August 24.
Over 23.2 million learners have enrolled nationwide, surpassing the target of 80% of last years' headcount, she said.
In the absence of face-to-face classes, learners will be using TV, radio, internet, and self-learning modules for studying amid the pandemic.
According to the DepEd on Wednesday, almost four in every 10 schools division offices (SDOs) in the Philippines have completed printing more than 50% of the self-learning modules for the first quarter of School Year 2020-2021. -NB, GMA News