On this day two years ago, President Rodrigo Duterte suspended classes in the National Capital Region for a week amid the rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
The week-long face-to-face class cancelation started on March 10, 2020. It was only supposed to last until March 14 of that year.
However, following the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous rise in infections in the country, Duterte implemented the first community quarantine in NCR on March 15, 2020, and then expanded it to cover the entire Luzon on March 16, 2020.
Flexible or blended learning later became the new mode of learning of students and teachers.
In 2021, limited face-to-face classes started to resume in phases for lower and higher institutions.
On March 10, some Filipino students resurfaced a report about the onsite class suspension and greeted one another with “happy anniversary” messages.
“Happy anniversary. (heart emoji) Akala ko 1 week lang, bakit parang halos buong buhay na?,” one Facebook user said.
“Happy anniversary,” another Facebook user commented with heart emojis.
Others recalled what they were doing before eventually getting restricted at home due to the strict lockdowns that were subsequently implemented.
“Ang saya ko pa kasi hindi natuloy yung gagawin naming commercial sa TLE tapos…” one Facebook user said.
Science organization Earth Shaker also did another “throwback” of its original posting of the supposed to be one-week class suspension, citing a news outlet.
It shared the same post last year, during the first year anniversary.
The first post reads:
What went before
The education sector was among the hardest hit sectors of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Duterte imposed the week-long class suspension in Metro Manila in March 2020 to monitor the “incubation period” of the virus.
Experts stated that the incubation period of the virus lasts for 14 days or two weeks.
At that time, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was only 24.
Starting in August 2020, the country shifted to the flexible or blended learning approach of learning.
Fast forward to this year, the Philippines has recorded a staggering 3,669,283 cases since the first case was detected.
Given the downward trend of the COVID-19 tally, the government placed Metro Manila and 38 other areas under Alert Level 1, the most relaxed alert level status until March 15.
The Department of Education also previously announced that over 1,700 schools nationwide have resumed limited face-to-face classes.
For higher education institutions or colleges, the Commission on Higher Education stated that those located in places under Alert Levels 1 and 2 have already been allowed to resume limited onsite learning since December 2021.