Duterte wants Philippine schools closed until vaccine is ready

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says schools will remain closed until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is ready.

Without a vaccine, sending children to school “spells disaster,” Duterte said during a late-night television address on Monday.

“I will not allow the opening of classes where students will be near each other.

“Unless I am sure that they are really safe, it’s useless to be talking about opening of classes,” he said.

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The Department of Education had set the opening of the school year for Aug. 24 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, three months after its traditional start in June.

But the department stressed that “school opening will not necessarily mean traditional face-to-face learning in (the) classroom.”

“The physical opening of schools will depend on the risk severity grading or classification of a locality,” it added when it announced the new school calendar.

Schools have been conducting online lessons for students who have access to computers and the internet at home.

READ ALSO:Philippines reports 13 new coronavirus deaths, 207 more infections

However, this option is not available to all students, especially those in remote areas.

Some parents have turned to home-schooling their children, with the help of instructions from the schools.

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There have been 14,319 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines as of Monday, including 873 deaths, according to the Department of Health.

Metro Manila and high-risk areas for infections are under relaxed lockdown until May 31, which has allowed some industries and establishments, such as malls, to resume limited operations.

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