/ 30 September 2021

THE WORLD Health Organization on Wednesday lauded the decision of the government to allow the pilot run of limited face-to-face classes.

“We are enjoined by the United Nations in the Philippines and the UNICEF in commending the Department of Education and the Department of Health for the collaborative preparedness for this pilot run,” WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said.

“WHO, together with our partners, will continue to work closely with the government – especially with the DOH and DepEd – to support safe in-person learning beginning with this pilot project,” he added.

Abeyasinghe pointed out that every child has the right to education and schools are central to their “development, safety, and well-being.”

Online education guarantees the continuity of academic learning for some children but it is no substitute for in-person attendance, he pointed out.

He added that prolonged school closures “have a significant impact on the physical and mental health development, as well as their skills attainment and career prospects.”

Abeyasinghe admitted that isolated infections will probably occur, thus the need for schools to have measures in place to manage such cases.

“This should not be a criteria to scale-back on the pilot and not to expand and move to the next phase,” he said.

The DepEd earlier said that limited physical classes will be conducted in 120 schools for two months.