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On Philippines' Reopening of Classes: A Position Paper

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Avatar for jstjylrd_
Written by   60
8 months ago

The world's system may have altered that much as it rotates on its axis, but not this firm belief I etched in my system that schools are students' second home.  As COVID-19 interfered and messed up with the timeline, schools were closed. After years of battling with the deadly virus, discussion whether schools in the Philippines  shall, or shall not reopen when a COVID-19 vaccine has been found. I beg to disagree that schools in the Philippines shall only reopen when a vaccine for COVID-19 has been found. Other factors, also, should be considered like the country's pandemic situation, and, health-promoting schools principles and approaches.

Firstly, the country's pandemic situation has to be considered when reopening the classes in the Philippines. This would make sense since as of April 28, 2022, approximately 3.69 million people had been confirmed as infected with the COVID-19 virus in the Philippines. Of those, over 3.6 million had recovered and around 60 thousand died (Statista Research Department, 2022).

Moreover, a news article written by Ombay (2022) pointed out that “school year 2022-2023 may open earlier depending on pandemic situation according to Philippines' Department of Education.” By collaborating these two ideas, I can say that it is still not ideal to reopen classes in the midst of alarming high number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Hence, country's pandemic situation must be considered as well, and, not just the discovery of COVID-19 vaccines. 

Secondly, schools' capability at conducting face to face classes should also be considered. In a journal written by the World Health Organization (2020), there is a checklist that indicates the essential actions at national, subnational and school level. In the school level, one essential action included is “assessing the feasibility of implementing protective measures before school reopening based on the recommendations of national and subnational/local authorities” (World Health Organization, 2022, p. 11).

It is also crucial for schools-related policies and programmes to consider the challenges facing the most vulnerable and marginalized in accessing services in education and health. This is also similar with the study published by Sarmiento et al., 2021 where they claimed that “ school health protocols in conducting face-to-face classes must be planned carefully following national and international guidelines ” (p.3).

Thirdly, there are some people that consider COVID-19 vaccines as crucial for our offense and defense against the virus, and, agree that schools in the Philippines shall only reopen when a vaccine for COVID—19 has been found. While I also believe the scientific benefits of the vaccines, those should not be made as sole basis for the opening of classes.

Aside from the evidences I stated above, McKenna (2021) of Scientific American pointed out that “data cannot yet tell us if COVID-19 vaccines hinder transmission of SARS-CoV-2.” This simply leads us to a  notion that any COVID-19 vaccine can't give us a hundred percent probability that all students shall be made safe during the reopening of classes. Further, it should not be made as a sole indicator for the reopening of classes.

Finally, it is my contention that schools in the Philippines shall not only reopen when a vaccine for COVID—19 has been found. Instead, several factors should be considered like the pandemic situation in the country, as well as the schools' capability at conducting face to face classes should also be considered. Schools are students' second home, and, sending students to school just by considering the vaccines alone is like sending students to disaster. Therefore, the aforementioned factors must also be considered to ensure the safety of students amidst the deadly pandemic.

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References:

McKenna, S. (2021). “Vaccines Need Not Completely Stop COVID Transmission to Curb the Pandemic”. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/vaccines-need-not-completely-stop-covid-transmission-to-curb-the-pandemic1/?amp=true

Ombay, G.  (2022, March 26). AY 2022-2023 may open earlier depending on pandemic situation –DepEd. GMA News. gmanetwork.com

Statista Research Department (2022, April 29). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Key Figures in the Philippines 2022. Statista. www.statista.com

Ombay, G.  (2022, March 26). AY 2022-2023 may open earlier depending on pandemic situation –DepEd. GMA News. gmanetwork.com

Sarmiento et al., (2021). Face-to-face classes during COVID-19: a call for deliberate and well-planned school health protocols in the Philippine context. Journal of Public Health (Oxford, English). DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdab006

World Health Organization (2020). Checklist to support schools re-opening and preparation for COVID-19 resurgences
or similar public health crises. ISBN 978-92-4-001746-7

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Written by   60
8 months ago
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