VP Sara: Sorry, teachers, classes have to start on Aug. 22
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said classes will start on Aug. 22 despite calls from some groups to move the school opening to September.
“This has been approved by [President Marcos] … so we will proceed with it,” Duterte told reporters in an ambush interview on Thursday before she attended the birthday celebration of business tycoon Manny Pangilinan at San Beda University in Manila.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) earlier opposed the opening of classes next month, saying teachers needed more time to rest and prepare for the coming school year.
“Classes for the school year 2021-2022 ended on June 24, but many teachers up until now are required to report to their schools physically,” the TDC said.
“In the end, teachers will not really have any rest” because they need to attend to paperwork and remedial classes, it added.
Regardless of the alert level status in their respective areas, all public and private schools in the basic education level must implement in-person classes five days a week starting Nov. 2, under the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Order No. 34, series of 2022.
They can start full in-person classes as early as Aug. 22 but they can also choose from any of the following—five days of in-person classes; blended learning modality or three days of in-person classes and two days of distance learning; or full distance learning—during a “transition period” until Oct. 31.
Duterte said the DepEd and Marcos were open to discussions about enrollment problems because of the mandatory in-person classes policy, “but for now, this is what was approved: [Schools] have three options and then we transition to five days in-person classes.”
Since vaccination will not be required of students attending physical classes, there should be “no segregation and discrimination” against unvaccinated learners, she added.
“We see no problem with the commingling of unvaccinated and vaccinated students in classrooms because when they go outside, they will still commingle,” Duterte said.
Also, unlike in the previous setup, there will be no limit on the number of students allowed to attend in-person classes.
“We did not put an exact class size because the situation varies in every school,” the education secretary said, adding that they were working on a department order to streamline the process of classroom construction to address the problem of congestion and overcrowding.