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July 22, 2020

We, the undersigned, strongly support the opening of the school year and schools, with appropriate public health and safety standards in place, by August 24, 2020, as previously recommended by the Department of Education (DepEd).  Childrens right to education must be protected. We affirm the global belief that schools are not only places of learning. They provide social protection, nutrition, health, and emotional support that are a life security for disadvantaged learners. Education is an essential strategy to reopen the economy. The sooner we bring back the Filipino youth to school, the sooner we can start rebuilding for a stronger Philippines, post-pandemic.

There are public health risks associated with reopening schools. But if planned and resourced well, we can safely manage those risks and ensure that we do not erase the almost universal access to basic education that the Philippines has achieved before COVID-19. We cannot afford the high costs of prolonged school closures to Filipino children, economy, and society.

We believe in the utilization of blended learning options, which involves face-to-face interactions in low-risk areas following health and safety measures, as enshrined in the multi-stakeholder-developed Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP). We believe that face-to-face teaching and learning should be implemented, especially in poor communities and in areas with very low or zero cases of COVID-19, gaps in ICT infrastructure, and low learning outcomes.

We, partners in education, are one with DepEd in exhausting all means to guarantee the safe and continued learning for all Filipino children by August 24. We enjoin local government units to ensure the safe reopening of schools. The earlier most schools can reopen the better; the less risk of long-term damage to the learning journeys and well-being of millions of Filipino children. Learning is a childs right and education is an investment for the future, not only of each Filipino, but also of the nation. Indeed, if the outlook is an economic bounce back next year and continued growth thereafter, we should not neglect the continued learning of the youth, who are the future drivers of the economy and builders of the nation.

Philippine Business for Education

Makati Business Club

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

Ateneo de Manila University

De La Salle Philippines

Philippine Normal University

IT & Business Process Association Philippines (IBPAP)

Management Association of the Philippines

Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines

Action for Economic Reforms

Knowledge Channel Foundation

Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities