"I will not allow the opening of classes where students will be near each other," he stated on live television. "Unless I am sure that they are safe, it's useless to be talking about the opening of classes," Duterte added.
Children were due to return to school at the end of August after classes for more than 25 million primary and secondary students were shut down in March as the contagion took a firm hold in the Philippines.
The Philippine government ceased schooling activities in March due to the COVID outbreak and expected to resume activities in August. According to the health authorities, reopening classrooms implies a high risk for over 25 million pupils from elementary and secondary learning.
"Children's right to education must be fulfilled even in times of emergencies," says Save the Children Philippines CEO Alberto Muyot. https://t.co/lKyFwu6khu
"For me, vaccine first. If the vaccine is already there, then it is okay. If no one graduates, then so be it," Duterte stated.
Philippine’s Education Ministry advocates for distance learning strategies as online classes are one of the only viable options.
Parents have conducted home-schooling and other instructional systems as the majority of the population lacks personal computers.
"The physical opening of schools will depend on the risk severity grading or classification of a locality," it said when it announced the new academic calendar. "School opening will not necessarily mean traditional face-to-face learning in," the government body affirmed.
Thus far, the Philippines has registered 14,669 positive cases, 886 deaths, and 3,412 recoveries from the virus.