/ 16 January 2022

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago on Saturday stressed the spike of Covid19 Omicron variant, on top of the flu season, affected most institutions, especially schools whose students, faculty and other personnel had been mostly sick.

In the absence of calls by students and teachers for the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education to issue orders for academic health breaks in areas under Alert Level 3, several schools and universities already declared their own breaks, citing the immediate spread of infections.

According to CHED, 126 higher education institutions declared academic health breaks including the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, Arellano University, among others.

“Kabataan welcomes the announcement of essential health breaks, academic easing measures in several schools nationwide. Dapat maipatupad ito sa lahat batay sa pangangailangan, sitwasyon ng COVID-19, at may malayang konsultasyon at partisipasyon ng mga estudyante, guro, at kawani,” said Elago.

Even without the Covid19 surge, youth groups alongside Kabataan Partylist have long been advocating for academic breaks and easing of school schedules especially in the aftermath of typhoon Odette.

Genuine academic breaks should not result in additional requirements imposed during or after the break, while maximum leniency is encouraged in grading.

In addition, Kabataan Partylist also calls for student aid to assist many learners and their families bearing unavoidable expenses resulting from home care.

Elago renewed her call to immediately pass Emergency Student Aid and Relief Bill or House Bill 9494 filed by the partylist in the previous year which intends to provide a one-time cash grant amounting to P10,000 for all students affected by calamity amid the pandemic and distance learning.

“Student aid, highlighted in this bill along with academic breaks and easing policies towards a gradual safe school reopening, is needed in securing Filipino youth’s right to accessible and quality education even amid pandemic,” Elago stressed.