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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged Education Sec. Leonor Briones to postpone the implementation of limited face-to-face classes in areas with zero cases of COVID-19 virus.

“I strongly urge the Department of Education to continue with the distance learning modality and suspend face-to-face classes this coming August 24,” said Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture.

In a statement, Gatchalian said he wants to prevent a scenario wherein “physical classes will be opened but will eventually be suspended again because of infections in their respective areas.”

Gatchalian stressed the infection rate has ballooned since the relaxation of the quarantine restrictions and other key cities and financial districts in the country.

The former Valenzuela City mayor warned that “allowing face-to-face classes will once again enhance the movement of people that might result in infections within our schools.

“We have seen [a] sudden spike of COVID-19 cases in provinces that never had cases from the beginning because of [locally stranded individuals] who were allowed to go home,” he said.

He added that allowing face-to-face classes will only compromise the safety and health of students.

“The safety of our learners, parents and teachers cannot be compromised. Our children are our greatest wealth and that their well being should be protected at all cost,” said Gatchalian.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday has signed into law Republic Act No. 11480 which will authorize his office to postpone or reschedule the opening of the school year upon the recommendation of DepEd in case of calamities or emergencies.

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