Postponement of classes until January 2021 demanded
Formal letter from the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) has sent to legislators and several offices including Malacanang, Office of the Vice President, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Budget and management (DBM) and Department of Interior and Local government (DILG).
The 5-page document of TDC entitled “Notes and Recommendations from Teachers on the Resumption of Classes for School Year 2020-2021” contained nine issues and concerns as well as recommendations ranging from health benefits to provision of gadgets and internet connectivity as well as assistance to private schools, reduction of workloads up to the possible adjustment of school calendar.
TDC said they have gathered all the information from a series of consultations, online meetings and informal surveys from their leaders and members in the field.
“Represented here are classroom teachers, principals, and supervisors from all the regions. We therefore assure your office that claims made here reflect the general sentiments of our teachers,” Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson said in the letter.
“While we have, from day 1, advocated for a January 2021 class opening vs. August 24, we make clear nonetheless that we do not necessarily oppose the adjusted October 5 plan by the Department of Education (DepEd).
We do appreciate this slight adjustment, but security and safety of teachers and learners are serious issues yet to be properly addressed by the DepEd, especially that the state of health emergency has been extended by the President for another year,” Basas further stated.
The TDC said that almost a million teachers who are in-charge of serving 24 million learners will be forced to physically interact with parents and other stakeholders at some levels, which according to them is “a health and safety nightmare that brings chills to the spines of the sane” because people would take public transportation vehicles, move thousands of modules back and forth and at some point will have to do face to face meetings as online infrastructures prove frighteningly inadequate.
As of yesterday, the DOH has recorded more than 299, 000 cases of COVID-19 in the country.
“The TDC continues to seek dialogues and forge partnerships. We are very much eager to collaborate with the DepEd as expressed in our many letters to the Central Office. We fervently hope that the DepEd leadership would see the wisdom of considering the opinions and sentiments, even outcry of teachers in crafting policies and in planning for programs,” Basas added.
Teachers challenged the DepEd top managers to visit the schools in the country and never depend on the online reports submitted to them by some field officials who are likely to hide the awful realities.
“Should the DepEd yet again fail to address these concerns, while dark clouds remain above us and our children, immediate consideration for postponement of class opening to January 2021 will inevitably be sought,” Basas ended.