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June school start rejected

Komfie Manalo

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A big number of Filipino parents rejected the Federation of Associations of Private School Administrators (FAPSA) and the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Association (COCOPEA) proposal to start the school year in June despite the lingering threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Daily Tribune interview, however, FAPSA president Eleazardo Kasilag clarified that his group is only pushing for a June school opening for secondary, junior and senior high schools only, with the pre-school and primary education (grades 1 to 3 levels) starting in September.

In a viral Facebook post by the Daily Tribune, which has generated close to 450,000 engagements, more than 7,200 shares and reached more than 1.3 million as of this writing, parents described the decision as “greedy” and made with “profit” as the main consideration.

“#Seriously?” exclaimed Ivy Diana Kennedy. “September is way safer than June. Let’s use our brain and our heart to reconsider the situation (rather) than being greedy to earn!”

Her sentiment was shared by Stacey Summer who said “schools are only after income and not the children’s welfare.”

Summer added: “I’d rather have my kids stay at home knowing they are safe and healthy. Why so greedy?”

Facebook user Gabrielle Gabby, added, “Nope… I won’t compromise my children’s health especially toddlers. I won’t mind skipping this school year. Yes, my kids’ education is important, but their health and safety are more important. I’d rather spend some time teaching them at home. And many parents don’t want to send their kids to school this school year. Why (are they) making such decisions too quickly?”

Mai Sis said the Department of Education (DepEd) and FAPSA should take into consideration that some parents are not receiving any pay while the whole of Luzon is under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the “no work, no pay policy” implemented by some firms.

Parents, she added, could not afford school expenses under the situation.

Private schools are allowed to adopt flexible school calendar arrangements. But they should comply with the strict health protocols against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the DepEd said.

“Private schools have historically been given flexibility to adopt DepEd’s school calendar, or to implement their own school opening as long as it is within the first week of June until end of August as provided by RA (Republic Act) 7797,” DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said in a statement.

“However, under an abnormal public health situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic, private schools have to strictly comply with and implement health protocols and standards such as regulations on which establishments should remain closed, and to monitor and implement social distancing,” she added.

with NEIL ALCOBER
and VERNON VELASCO

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