Press Release
July 20, 2021

Tolentino pushes resumption of 'limited' face-to-face classes in low-risk island provinces

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Tol' N. Tolentino is pushing for the gradual resumption of face-to-face classes in low-risk island provinces in the country for the upcoming opening of school year in September amid the current global coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with ANC's Headstart on Tuesday, Tolentino stressed that island provinces such as Guimaras, Biliran, Batanes, and Camiguin which have low or zero COVID-19 infection rate should be allowed by the national government to resume its face-to-face classes for students while still abiding with existing minimum health protocol guidelines by the Inter-Agency Taskforce (IATF).

According to Tolentino, there should be selected areas across the archipelago wherein face-to -face classes should be allowed and should not solely rely on the current blended learning curriculum being imposed by the Department of Education (DepEd), noting that distance learning modality—a combination of online and modular learning—isn't effective at all, considering the current connectivity problem of the country's telcos.

"It should not be a total online-hybrid modality... it won't work, it never works," said Tolentino.

Although the World Bank has apologized over its recent report which described that the country's education system is lagging and about 80 percent of Filipino children "do not know what they should know," Tolentino believed the learning accumulation of the pupils "really went down" considering the questionable effectiveness of distance learning.

Education Sec. Leonor Briones last Friday announced that school year 2021-2022 will start on September 13, amid the existing threat of the global pandemic and the emerging Delta variant strain of the COVID-19 virus which has badly affected neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

The senator said that since some teachers are already vaccinated, the national government should explore the possibility of allowing the gradual resumption of face-to-face classes in those safe and low-risk areas.

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