MANILA, Philippines — The chief implementer of the government's COVID-19 policy Wednesday expressed support for the conduct of face-to-face classes in medical schools, citing the need for more health workers in the fight against the pandemic.
COVID-19 National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. cited the Our Lady of Fatima University in Valenzuela, which he said is reconfiguring its schools so they can be prepared for face-to-face learning sessions. Galvez visited the university last Tuesday.
"Kaya ito po, iyong face to face maganda po na maibalik po iyon lalo na sa mga tinatawag na medical schools at saka iyong mga medical courses para magkaroon tayo ng tinatawag na relief para sa ating mga health workers (It's good to resume face-to-face classes in medical schools and medical courses to provide relief to our health workers)," Galvez said at a televised press briefing.
"At iyong ibang mga ibang courses na nakikita natin lalo na iyong mga essential services ay puwede na rin po (It is also possible for essential services)," he added.
Galvez, however, clarified that the resumption of face-to-face classes would be approved on a case-to-case basis. He said no educational institution would be allowed to hold face-to-face sessions without the approval of authorities.
"What we will do is we will inspect the facility so that there is a third party that will really validate if they follow the minimum health standard and the reengineering and reconfiguration are in line with the minimum health standard protocols set by the DOH (Department of Health)," Galvez said.
The Holy Angel University in Pampanga, Galvez added. has also been preparing for on-site learning.
Galvez said the government's pandemic task force would also coordinate with the education department to discuss the possible resumption of on-site learning in other educational institutions. He said there are about 16 million basic education students and the Philippines would face difficulties if they become super spreaders of the virus.
"There are courses that require experiential learning or face to face. So we will find ways, we will see, we will coordinate with (Education) Secretary (Leonor) Briones on how we could really expedite and look at the possibility of having a reconfiguration of different schools so that we can really follow and obey the minimum health standard," Galvez said.
"There are studies suggesting that children can become super spreaders. We can't be complacent yet and our figures are not yet irreversible," he added.
Galvez said the government's pandemic task force would evaluate the country's post-holiday COVID-19 figures.
"We are very lenient in MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) areas and we will see if we can have simulations this coming January," he added.
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