Press Release
February 24, 2022

Bong Go calls on gov't, school authorities anew to safeguard the health and welfare of students amid gradual expansion of F2F classes

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go once again urged government authorities and officials of educational institutions to guarantee the health and safety of students amid the gradual expansion of face-to-face classes nationwide.

As Chair of the Senate Committe on Health and member of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Go emphasized that while the country is already experiencing a downward trend in COVID-19 cases that allows most economic sectors to resume normal operations, securing human life and managing the risks brought about by the ongoing pandemic should be primordial concerns.

"Hinihimok ko pa rin ang gobyerno at mga school officials na siguruhin ang kapakanan at kalusugan ng ating mga estudyante sa gitna ng gradual expansion ng face-to-face classes sa bansa," Go said.

"Naiintindihan po natin na importante po ang edukasyon dahil ito ang tanging puhunan natin sa mundong ito. Kaya hinihikayat ko ang mga bata na patuloy na mag-aral kahit na may krisis tayong hinaharap. Gayunpaman, gawin natin ito sa ligtas na paraan," he added.

The senator called on school administrators and educators anew to strictly implement the Required Health Standards for COVID-19 Mitigation jointly issued by the Department of Education and Department of Health as they return to in-person instruction.

"We'll do it one step at a time so that our students' safety is not jeopardized. Huwag natin biglain and let us assess what happens. Kahit ayaw nating maantala ang klase nila, importanteng safe ang mga estudyante," reiterated Go.

"Health and safety pa din ang importante. Sa kagustuhan nating makapag-aral ang mga bata, 'wag natin kalimutan na unahin palagi ang interes, kapakanan at buhay nila at ng bawat Pilipino," he stressed.

Earlier, the Department of Education expressed optimism that additional schools will be eligible to participate in the expansion of physical classes. Notably, the conduct of face-to-face classes may only be implemented in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2.

In January, the education department reported that 304 schools were authorized to resume in-person sessions beginning February, following President Rodrigo Duterte's approval of the progressive expansion.

DepEd noted that as of February 9, there are 39 schools in the National Capital Region that are able to continue limited physical classes. Twenty-eight of these schools are among the pilot educational institutions that began the conduct of face-to-face classes in November last year.

In light of the ongoing vaccination program for children aged 5 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 18, Go also appealed for schools and colleges to be given more resources to organize inoculation drives in order to get more young people immunized.

"Pagdating sa mga bata, takot talaga ako. Unang-una hindi pa sila bakunado. Pangalawa, hindi natin kontrolado 'yung galaw nila at pangatlo, baka mag-back to zero na naman tayo. Kaya ngayon na pwede na magpabakuna ang mga bata, 'wag natin sayangin ang oportunidad na ito na proteksyunan sila mula sa sakit," appealed Go.

"Lagi natin alalahanin na hindi kaya ng gobyernong mag-isa ang laban kontra pandemya. Hindi rin kakayanin ng mga frontliners kung patuloy na dadami ang dinadala sa mga ospital. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 starts with us being responsible citizens by getting vaccinated and following the health and safety protocols," he stressed.

The senator also underscored the importance of providing clear and consistent guidelines to aid local authorities and schools in the safe resumption of face-to-face classes.

Finally, Go reiterated that schools should not be compelled to open against experts' advice, and urged the government to provide them with the necessary assistance and resources, such as masks, face shields, and other personal protective equipment.

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