Gatchalian says home-based learning may be ‘new normal’ in upcoming school year

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2020   •   658

MANILA, Philippines — Learning from home may become the “new normal” for millions of students when school year 2020-2021 opens in August, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, said that the Department of Education (DepEd) should use every platform to ensure the continued education and safety of more than 27 million learners amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

He said the mix of digital, low-tech, and no-tech methods will help DepEd reach all learners, especially those in the far-flung areas without access to the internet.

Since not all learners have connectivity and available gadgets for online-based learning, the senator said that television and radio will be key to reaching more learners nationwide.

“Marami pa rin sa ating mga mag-aaral sa buong bansa ang hindi nakakagamit ng internet, kaya malaki ang potensyal ng radyo at telebisyon upang maipagtuloy natin ang edukasyon sa loob ng ating mga tahanan,” Gatchalian said.

“Sa pagpasok ng SY 2020-2021, mahalagang magamit natin lahat ng paraaan upang maipagpatuloy ang edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan at mapanatili ang kanilang kaligtasan,” he added.

The lawmaker also proposed that the number of subjects under DepEd’s Learning Continuity Plan be reduced only to core subjects amid the health crisis situation.

He also suggested that the time leading to the opening of classes on August 24 should be spent on preparing teachers, parents and learners on using different tools for home-based learning.

The DepEd earlier said it is studying various modes of learning for students depending on the situation in their areas. Its guidelines will be released when finalized.

DFA logs 3 new recoveries from COVID-19 among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   January 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday (January 24) reported three new recoveries from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among Filipinos abroad.

This brings a total of 8,820 Filipinos already recovered from the disease outside of the country.

To date, the number of Filipinos abroad who tested positive for the virus is at 13,779 while the number of fatalities remain at 945, mostly recorded in the Americas.

Meanwhile, a total of 4,017 Filipinos are still undergoing treatment in different health facilities around the world, majority of them are in the Middle East and Africa.

The DFA said it remains fully committed to monitoring the situation of overseas Filipinos who are affected by the pandemic and remains steadfast in promoting and protecting their welfare.

Non-compliance with minimum health standards is like choosing to become transmission agent — Duque

Maris Federez   •   January 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III on Saturday (January 23) emphasized that breaches in compliance with the minimum public health standards are the primary driver of infection and mutation of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“What may seem as a minor breach in the protocol or a misstep in our masking and coughing etiquettes can lead to a spike in cases. The next time we place our masks below our chins, raise our face shields above our heads, or the next time we go out and mingle just because we can without fear of consequences, we are choosing to become an agent of transmission,” the health chief said.

Duque made the statement during the virtual press conference announcing the detection of 16 additional cases of the UK variant of the deadly disease in the country.

The health official called on the public to continue doing the preventive measures – and doing them properly – as these seemingly insignificant actions may spell the difference in the lives of other people down the chain of infection.

Duque underscored that the actions of each and everyone can save the lives of people by preventing transmission.

“It is the little things that can stop the spread of disease–the proper wearing of a mask and face shield may be uncomfortable at times, but enduring a little discomfort can save lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, the country has recorded 1,797 new COVID-19 cases, as of 4pm, January 23, bringing the total number of active cases to 33,603.

The department also noted 166 recoveries and 54 fatalities, tallying total recoveries to 467,886 and deaths to 10,190. — /mbmf

UK Covid-19 variant may be more deadly —British PM

Maris Federez   •   January 23, 2021

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the UK variant of the coronavirus disease may not just be more infectious but could also be more deadly.

“We have now learned that, in addition to spreading more quickly, the new variant of the virus may also be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” the prime minister said.

With this development, Johnson urged the public to be more cautious and avoid unnecessary travels or going out.

“It is therefore more important than ever that we all remain vigilant in following the rules and that we stay at home, protect the NHS and thereby save lives,” he added.

According to UK Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance, research shows that the number of fatalities caused by the new variant is higher than that of the original strain.

“If you took… a man in their 60s, the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die with the virus. With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected, roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die,” said Vallance.

Vallance and Johnson, however, assured that the vaccine they use against the new COVID-19 variant is effective in fighting the virus.

“Both the vaccines we’re currently using remain effective both against the old variant and this new variant,” Johnson said. —/mbmf

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