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Robredo backs delay of school opening, suggests face-to-face classes in COVID-free areas

Vice President Leni Robredo has expressed support on delaying the opening of School Year 2020-2021 beyond August 24 and the possibility of allowing face-to-face classes in areas free from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

On her weekly radio show, Robredo said she spoke with several teachers who lamented they are not yet prepared for the August 24 opening of classes declared by the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Actually iyong mga teachers na kausap natin, iyon din iyong sabi, ‘Bakit ipipilit na August 24 kung hindi pa handa?’ Pero ini-insist kasi ng DepEd na handa na sila. Iyong nakausap namin na teachers, mas gusto na nila na mas late iyong pagbukas para mas handa,” she said Sunday.

“Ako, kung hindi pa handa iyong mga teacher, makakatulong naman na—wala namang difference masyado kung gawin mong September o October o November, basta handa lahat,” she added.

Robredo added that delaying the opening of classes may also help private schools, hundreds of which said they are at risk of closure due to the low number of enrollees.

Malacañang on Monday responded that the law mandates the opening of classes to take place not later than August of each year.

“As far as the actual date of classes, may batas po ‘yan [Republic Act 7797]. We have to comply with the law which is the last week of August. Unless Congress will pass a law providing that we could open on a later date,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

A bill allowing President Rodrigo Duterte to reschedule the opening of classes at any date beyond August has been approved by Congress.

Senate Bill No. 1541 or “An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from 200 Days to Not More Than 220 Class Days" was adopted and approved on final reading by the House of Representatives before the sine die adjournment earlier this month.

This move made the proposed measure seeking to amend Section 3 of RA 7797 an enrolled bill and just awaiting the signature of the President to become a law.

Meanwhile, the Vice President suggested allowing face-to-face classes in areas that have not recorded cases of COVID-19.

She underscored that there are some learners, such as early primary students and special children, for whom face-to-face learning is ideal.

“So sana pag-aralan na depende sa lugar iyong modality na gagawin, hindi lahat distance, kasi baka iyong mga lugar na hindi naman mataas iyong danger ng contamination, o wala namang contamination, baka puwede namang mag-face-to-face,” Robredo said.—AOL, GMA News