Teachers don’t have to be in class on June 1–Briones

Leonor Magtolis Briones

AFTER being called “cruel” and “unreasonable,” the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday clarified that no teachers are being required or forced to report physically on June 1, 2020.

Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones stressed that teachers may return to work beginning June 1 either “virtually” or “physically”.

“They are not required [to report physically],” Briones, who sounded exasperated, told the BusinessMirror over the phone as she shared that “until today [May 20] almost every day there are complaints against DepEd—‘how cruel, how unreasonable’…not only from teachers but also [from] parents.”

The DepEd chief reiterated that physical reporting may be possible in areas where there is no single Covid-19 case. The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported that there are over 40 provinces in the country with no reported cases of Covid from the start or in the past weeks.

However, reporting physically in these areas, if ever, would still be “in compliance with the DOH guidelines and the Inter-Agency Task Force,” added Briones.

“We have already said, even during our virtual press conference [livestream via Facebook] that they can report online or physically [yet] we are receiving complaints like they are being forced, they are risking their lives…. We never said that [they should report] physically…never every single one of the 900,000 teachers will be reporting physically. We’ve been repeating that over and over but it just keeps coming back…still the same reactions.”

The DepEd chief lamented that “just today sa FB sabi nila ‘nakataga na sa bato’, ‘irrevocable na’. That is not true.”

Briones said they also indicated in their issued memorandum that teachers are not physically required to go to school on June 1.

Briones said she was surprised that despite their numerous explanations, some quarters “still insist that we are insisting that they report physically.”

New platform

Earlier, Briones said that teachers will undergo capacity building for new lessons as the DepEd introduces a new platform that now has more than 5 million subscribers.

This new platform, called the DepEd Commons, is an online education delivery program, so that learners could continue with their studies amid the pandemic.

Briones said learners and teachers will also undergo psychosocial counseling to cope with the “new normal.”

She stressed that the safety and protection of the learners and their families are their utmost priority, that is why they are looking into different learning modalities like modular and online distance learning, as well as the use of TV- or radio-based instruction, or blended learning, which is a combination of face-to-face and distance learning, and even homeschooling.

Image credits: Nonoy Lacza


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