In this August 30, 2022 article published by the Philippine News Agency, Ma. Teresa Montemayor reports on the recent statements from the Department of Health (DOH) supporting the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) move to allow unvaccinated students and faculty members to attend in-person classes [See CHED Scraps Vaccine Requirement for Students and Teachers].
According to DOH Officer-In-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, the country’s Covid-19 response is “dynamic” and follows the latest recommendations available. She said, “The benefits of in-person and face-to-face schooling now outweigh the risk of Covid-19 infections. Face-to-face classes boost academic performance, improve mental health and well-being, and help develop social engagement skills”.
Editor’s Note: DOH and CHED wants people to think that the changes in policies are only a reflection of the changes in science. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
For one, the science showing that COVID has very little risk among young, healthy people has been available to us since 2020. [Read Covid-19 Pandemic: The Philippine Experience].
If Vergeire knew the importance of face-to-face classes for college students, why did she not do everything in her power to ensure that they resume as soon as possible? Did she not know that face-to-face classes were even more important for young children?
As early as 2020, we have been calling on the government to return to in-person learning, especially as other countries have already determined that it was safe to go back to school [see 60+ doctors and educators release statement on the situation of children and adolescents during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Reopening of schools has not triggered a new wave of coronavirus infections, Philippine doctors weigh in on the educational situation of children and adolescents, Science says it’s time to open schools, Overcome the fear: Sign petition to end lockdowns of children and the youth].
We want people to remember. They kept schools closed because they wanted to vaccinate our children [see DepEd postpones face-to-face classes until COVID-19 vaccine is available].
They made our children into guinea pigs. Vergeire, and those people in CHED, are only changing their tune because the tide is turning and they are bound to be charged for their abuses. Let us not so easily forget their crimes lest they repeat this again.