/ 7 December 2021

INSTEAD of imposing mandatory vaccination, the government should impose weekly Covid19 antigen testing for students attending physical classes, various student groups said on Monday.

The Commission on Higher Education earlier said that only fully vaccinated learners and teachers can attend physical classes.

“For those unvaccinated or students who can’t participate in limited face-to-face classes, they shall continue to be governed by our guidelines on flexible learning – online and offline modes,” CHED Executive Director Cinderella Benitez-Jaro said.

However, the Kabataan Party-list and other youth groups expressed disapproval, saying that the move “discriminates students.”

“The youth groups reject mandatory vaccination on the basis that it deprives unvaccinated students of access to on-campus learning, especially those in areas with relatively lower risk but with lagging vaccination rates because of the slow vaccination process of the national government,” they said.

The groups also urged the government to allot a medical fund from the national budget to ensure the health and safety of the students.

“We wonder why the government is slowing down the already late process of school reopening by imposing unscientific and discriminatory policies and passing unnecessary burden to schools,” the groups stressed.

“Our national leaders must assist schools and not make it difficult for them to reopen, and must provide adequate funding for the steps needed to safely reopen more schools,” they added.