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DepEd sees more disruptions in coming school year, drafts learning continuity plan but rejects mass testing of students

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The Department of Education (DepEd) is preparing a learning continuity plan for the upcoming school year amid the country’s fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We foresee a number of disruptions this coming school year kaya naghahanda kami ng learning continuity plan,” DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said in a radio interview. “Kung ang Covid-19 ay tuloy-tuloy, certainly, ang kaligtasan ng ating mga guro at mga mag-aaral ang magiging pangunahing concern natin (If Covid-19 persists, certainly, the safety of our teachers and learners will be our major concern).”

Malaluan, however, said the learning continuity plan may not include the mass testing for learners and teachers as suggested by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.

Gathalian, chair of the Senate committee on education, said the mass testing would ensure the safe re-opening of classes.

The lawmaker said the cost of the tests should be shouldered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) or the local government units.

“Baka naman ang ibig sabihin niya sa mass testing ay not necessarily universal, may targeting pa rin na mangyayari,” Malaluan said.

He said the Department of Health should be consulted on Gatchalian’s suggestion.

According to the latest DepEd data, the country has more than 27 million learners and over 800,000 public teachers nationwide.

Citing some schools designated as facilities for community quarantine, Malaluan said the DepEd is considering the adjustment of the school opening.

“Not necessarily face to face classroom setting, tinitingnan namin ang multi-modal na pagdeliver ng mga lessons at iyan ang hinahanda. We’re also consulting other partners for this learning continuity plan,” Malaluan said.

He said DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones intends to present the proposal to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and to the public at the right time. (PNA)

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