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Duterte: COVID-19 pandemic can’t get in the way of students’ learning

President Rodrigo Duterte praised the opening of classes on Monday despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a pre-recorded message, the President commended the Department of Education (DepEd) and its partners for guiding all stakeholders ahead of the opening of School Year 2020-2021.

"[T]he school opening is a momentous occasion because it is pushing through despite the global health crisis due to COVID-19,” he said. “Indeed, nothing can get in the way of the instruction and formation of our learners, not even a pandemic.”

The school year was supposed to start on August 24 but was moved to October 5 to allow the government to address "logistical limitations" faced by areas that were then placed under modified enhanced community quarantine and “fill in the remaining gaps” in the preparations.

“May this school year be marked with strong hopes and optimism that effective learning will take place even amidst the odds and challenges,” Duterte said.

“Together, let us work to achieve a more informed, enlightened, inspired citizenry starting with our children. I wish you all the best in your academic journey.”

‘Victory’ vs. pandemic

Earlier in the day, Education Secretary Leonor Briones claimed “victory” over the pandemic as she officially declared the opening of school year 2020-2021.

Reading from a prepared statement, Briones said the country “will not allow COVID-19 to destroy our children's education and their future.”

“Araw-araw may bagong krisis, bagong problema, at bagong pagkukulang. Paghihintayin ba namin kayong mga mag-aaral, more than 24 million of you? Hindi maaaring pababayaan kayo mag-aaral,” she said.

There will be no face-to-face classes and sessions will not be limited to online sessions alone, according to DepEd, which tapped television, radio and modular systems to ensure the delivery of lessons.

Around 24.7 million students enrolled in public and private schools this school year, the DepEd said. — RSJ, GMA News