National News

Duque Contradicts Duterte Says August is Safe to Start of Classes

After President Rodrigo Duterte announced that classes will not resume until a vaccine for coronavirus is made available, Health Secretary Francisco Duque contradicted the president’s pronouncement and states that it is ‘safe’ to resume classes on August 24 as long as minimum health standards are observed.

“Sa ngayon po tingin namin ay ligtas naman po kung bubuksan natin ang klase by August 24. Kinakailangan po rito siguraduhin lamang na ang lahat ng ating minimum standard for health ay nakatalaga,” states Health Secretary Francisco Duque, in an article by the Inquirer.

According to Duque, health practices such as physical/social distancing, frequent and proper handwashing, and disinfection of classrooms should be a common practice.

“Marami po tayong mga measures na katulad ng fever scanning or thermal scanning, pwedeng ma-adopt po ito ng bawat paaralan para titignan kung sino sa mga bata ang mga may sakit,” Duque adds.

Duque also acknowledged the President’s concern for the safety of students.

“I think children are certainly very valuable to President Duterte and he doesn’t want to compromise the health of the children. And we cannot risk the children going back when there is no vaccine, as what the President I understand has articulated,” the health secretary said in a manifestation. But we hope the vaccines will be available the soonest possible time, very important po ang bakuna. But habang wala pa naman pong bakuna siguraduhin na lang po natin yung mga (vaccines are very important. But in the absence of a vaccine, we should ensure) minimum health standards are provided and are met to mitigate the risk to our school children,” Duque concludes.

It can be recalled that the Department of Education eyes the reopening of classes on August 24 this year. The school year will start on August 24, 2020, and will end on April 30, 2021, according to Education Secretary Leonor Briones in a virtual press briefing. The decision was made through extensive consultation with stakeholders and has been reported to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease, an ad hoc body that guides the government’s efforts in battling the current pandemic.

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