Due to the effects of the pandemic, different organizations have called for an academic freeze, which pertains to the suspension of classes for the succeeding year(s) in all modes of learning. It can also be adopted through a “no vaccine, no class” policy where a vaccine against COVID-19 must be developed first.
In spite of this online call and the ongoing pandemic problem, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said that it is safe to open the classes this August in a press briefing last May 26. DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said on May 28, “But what other options do we have? We have to go on because education must continue.”
On June 8, Briones also said in an online statement, “We will comply with the President’s directive to postpone face-to-face classes until a vaccine is available.”
“Radio, television, and modular learning are being prepared and updated this year. At the same time, teachers are trained to newer platforms and innovative tools to aid their professional development,” she added.
The Ruins, an organization which started an online petition for the cancellation of the Academic Year 2020-2021 on change.org to be sent to the Department of Education (DepEd), stated some reasons why it is necessary.
They cited that not all students have stable internet connection at home as well as not having the privilege to own materials needed for the online-based education that will be implemented this school year. Additionally, the parents are obliged to pay the courier fees for the printed materials that will be delivered to their homes. They also questioned the point of pushing the students to study this school year at the expense of their health being put at risk.
On June 1, the Senate heeded the call of the students by approving the third and final reading of the bill that would authorize the President to postpone the classes beyond August. With the vote 23-0, the chamber approved during its hybrid session the Senate Bill No. 1541, which seeks to amend Section 3 of the Republic Act No. 7797 or “An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (200) days to Not More Than Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days”.
Following this, a House Resolution No. 950 or “Resolution Calling For The Continued Suspension In All Modes Of Learning In All Levels of Public and Private Institutions Until A COVID-19 Vaccine Has Been Developed and Made Publicly Available”, which is authored by Senior Citizens Partylist Rep. Francisco “Jun” Datol – Gamboa Jr., was lobbied to the House of Representatives on June 3.
Even though the Senate Bill No. 1541 has been approved, there have been no directives released yet. This is a developing story.
LAYOUT BY: Cristine Joie Q. Bacud
PHOTO SOURCE(S): Uihere