“There is no conflict, no disagreement, no debate between the pronouncement of the president and the department because they’re exactly the same,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a virtual briefing.
This clarification was made after contradictory statements were made by different government authorities regarding the opening of the next school year.
Briones said the DepEd, like Duterte, would not allow face-to-face learning in crowded classrooms when classes open on the proposed schedule in August, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“Pareho ang posisyon namin dahil ayaw din namin dikit-dikit ang klase,” said Briones.
[We share the same position because we don’t want crowded classes.]
Duterte expressed that he would not allow physical classes unless a vaccine against the new coronavirus disease was made available to the masses.
“I will not allow the opening of classes na magdikit-dikit ‘yang mga bata,” Duterte said.
“Unless I am sure that they are really safe, it’s useless to be talking about the opening of classes. Para sa akin, bakuna muna. Kapag nandiyan ‘yung bakuna, okay na (Vaccine first. When the vaccine is there, then it’s ok),” said Duterte.
The next day, Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque clarified that the president was only prohibiting face-to-face classes in areas that would remain under community quarantine.
The school year is scheduled to start on August 24 but teachers and students are not obligated to go to school in person since schools would implement various alternatives to in-person classes.