Memories of #WalangPasok: Students recall last moments of pre-pandemic week-long class suspension

March 9, 2021 - 7:05 PM
Students with face mask
In this Jan. 31, 2020 photo, pedestrians in Metro Manila are shown wearing face masks, a day after the Department of Health confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus in the Philippines. (The STAR/Edd Gumban)

Students were hit with bittersweet nostalgia as they recall their last moments before a week-long class suspension was declared in the metro exactly one year ago.

Science organization Earth Shaker Philippines did a “throwback” on its account and noted it had been a year since President Rodrigo Duterte declared classes to be suspended in the National Capital Region from March 10 to March 14, 2020.

The class cancelation announcement was made on March 9, 2020.

“THROWBACK: On this day in 2020, President Duterte announced a 1-week #WalangPasok for ALL LEVELS in Metro Manila due to the threat of COVID-19. Eventually, this one week turned out to be one of the longest we’ve had..” the organization tweeted.

The organization also linked its original post tweeting the announcement on that day, courtesy of a news outlet.

Students who saw the throwback tweet shared their last moments that time before eventually becoming house-bound as preventive measures against the COVID-19 transmission.

A Twitter user took a screengrab of her Facebook post on March 9, 2020 where she shared an announcement of a university suspending its classes.

“Prevention is better than cure,” the online user wrote in her Facebook caption before.

Another Twitter user recalled that exactly a year ago, they were in National Museum and Luneta Park since they needed to document something for their classes that involved national hero Jose Rizal.

“‘Yun na pala huling f2f (face-to-face) activity sa’min. Walang nakaalam sa bahay na nagpunta ako dito kasi ang taas na ng cases sa bawat ospital ng Maynila. Akala ko 1 (week) lang, naging 1 year (plus),” she wrote.

A different student recalled studying for her “Hema-Onco Pedia exam the following day” but the suspensions had happened.

Another Twitter user shared how “happy” everyone in her dormitory was when the week-long suspensions were initially announced.

“I remember how happy everyone was sa dorm after this announcement just (because) we all thought na it’ll serve as our one week break. Not knowing na this 1-week walang pasok will turn out to be like this. Hshchshs,” she wrote.

What happened before?

Duterte on March 9, 2020 declared that classes in all levels at Metro Manila would be suspended from March 10 to 14 to observe the “incubation period” of the virus, which has first detected in the country in January of that year.

He added that the duration of class suspensions would be monitored since the usual length of the virus’ incubation period at that time was known to last 14 days.

“Children should study while they are being detained in their respective homes…” Duterte was quoted as saying before.

At that time, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country was only 24.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III explained that the class suspension was “a preemptive call to ensure that national and local governments and public and private health care providers can prepare for possible increase in suspected and confirmed cases.”

Fast forward to this year and the country has reached a total number of more than 600,000 COVID-19 cases.

Mass vaccinations against the viral disease have also begun among healthcare workers, care of China’s Sinovac and Britain’s AstraZeneca.