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COVID-19 community transmission should be considered before opening classes —WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific on Tuesday said the level of community transmission of COVID-19 should be considered before opening classes.

In a press conference, Dr. Tamano Matsui of WHO Western Pacific pointed out that there should be caution in opening classes while acknowledging the need of children for social interaction for psychosocial development.

“We know that children need to go to school to have social interactions, and it's important for their psychosocial development. It is also the essential element of a functioning society,” Matsui said.

"The pandemic is a challenge because the resumption is both a risk and benefit  for public health and education. An important factor to consider is the level of community transmission of COVID-19,”  she added.

For Matsui, the opening of classes will be difficult with the ongoing community transmission due to the risk of outbreaks.

“This is why WHO encourages decision makers to conduct transmission assessment using a large source of information so we know how much transmission is really occurring,” she added.

Matsui also advised good communication among students, teachers, and administrators to prevent the further transmission of COVID-19 in communities.

She also advised upgrading the knowledge of concerned individuals about the infection  as well as the measures to be taken in  schools.

Initially scheduled on August 24, the opening of classes was moved to October 5 due to the restrictions from the modified enhanced community quarantine, which affected the preparation of schools.

Due to the COVID-19 threat, the Department of Education (DepEd) decided to resume classes using a blended learning system wherein students do not have to go to school to participate in classes.

It also removed around 60% of the curriculum to adjust for the remote learning approach.

The DepEd has been preparing different ways to provide education to students using self-learning modules, broadcast media, and the internet. —KG, GMA News