Unless COVID-19 vaccine comes to the fore, Philippines is reluctant towards opening schools. The decision has instilled paranoia amongst millions of children on the verge of a total collapse of education. It has simultaneously set an unpredictable scenario for online learning catering to the needs of 27 million children.
The move to withhold physical learning is a major setback in an archipelago nation where the majority of houses are deprived of internet access or e-learning resources. Additionally, teachers from many schools are apprehensive about the feasibility of starting full-fledged online learning within the next two months.
Leonor Briones, Education Secretary, is speculative about implementing physical distancing and wearing masks in school without prior advent of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The president cares about our students, he told us to find other ways (to teach) besides students going back to school,” said Briones in a virtual media briefing.
Irrespective of country’s stringent quarantine measures, numbers of positive cases have increased by hundreds on a daily basis. More than 25 million primary and secondary schools are shut since March when the initial cases of COVID-19 sparked up.
“Unless I am sure they are really safe it’s useless to be talking about opening of classes,” Briones further added. “For me, vaccine first. If the vaccine is already there, then it’s okay… If no one graduates, then so be it.“
Unlike Philippines, however, a number of COVID-19 affected countries—Vietnam, New Zealand, France and Australia– have resumed face-to-face classes