Nalzaro: Resume face-to-face classes for college


THE Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has revised its guidelines on the age bracket of the stay-at-home order by allowing this time persons aged 15 to 65 years old to go out of their homes during community quarantine. Under the previous policy, those aged 21 to above 60 years old were required to stay at home “all the time,” with the exception of work and accessing necessities.

Local government units may impose a higher age limit for minors, depending on the Covid-19 situation in their respective jurisdiction. I don’t think that there is a local chief executive who will oppose and disregard this new IATF guideline for political considerations. Some senior citizens have been demanding that they be “freed from confinement.” Imagine. They have been confined in their homes for the last seven months, which some claimed had affected their mental health.

According to the revised guidelines of the IATF: “Any person below 15 years old and those who are over 65 of age, comorbidity or other health risk and pregnant women, including any person who resides with the aforementioned, shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in industries or such other activities.”

The reason cited by the IATF in revising its policy is to revive the economy and allow more people to go to work. The gradual expansion of age group to go out was among the recommendation made by the economic cluster. It was then approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

I am not an expert in economics, but if we talk about it, what can a 15-year-old or any minor for that matter contribute to our economy? They are still students and are mainly financially dependent on their parents. They have no income to spend. Members of this age group go to malls only for dating and window shopping, or they make “tambay” in airconditioned areas and play with their gadgets. If you are a parent, will you allow your child to be exposed to the virus by going to crowded places like malls?

If this is the case, why won’t the IATF allow senior high school and college students to go back to school for the traditional face-to-face classes? They are qualified under the guidelines. The Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education should insist for the resumption of face-to-face learning rather than continue online and virtual classes, which is more expensive and complicated. The school can just limit the attendance of students in one class so physical distancing can be properly observed.

As for those who are 65 years old above who are still not allowed to leave their homes, it isn’t because they are being held captive. They are merely “restricted” to go out because they are vulnerable to the virus. What the government is doing is protecting them from possible infection as data show that 60 percent of those who contracted the disease and died belonged to this age bracket. They can still go out, but for essentials only. Are hanging out in coffeeshops and having karaoke sessions considered essentials? They are risking their lives if they expose themselves to the public as the virus is pretty much active.

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging older people and people with severe chronic medical conditions to stay at home as much as possible. Early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious illnesses from the coronavirus, according to the CDC.

You see that? It’s the experts who are saying it.


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