Briones: United against a pandemic

Publio J. Briones III

LET'S be realistic about this, okay?

The whole of Cebu has basically suspended classes starting Monday, March 16, 2020, in relation to measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Local chief executives don’t want all those children to be exposed to unnecessary risks while they interact with classmates, move from one classroom to another, play in the playground or commute to and from school.

And they are right.

Even Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, who initially saw no need to impose the drastic measure, had a change of heart. However, some members of the opposition said he only relented after he received a barrage of criticisms on social media.

At any rate, on this matter the towns and component and highly urbanized cities in Cebu have taken a united stand. Because, let’s face it, Covid-19 does not distinguish from its victims. It’s an equal-opportunity disease. So there’s really no point in finger-pointing and playing the blame game. Everyone should buckle down and attend to the problem at hand.

“ARD (assistant regional director of the Department of Education 7) stated that next week is already slated for exams week, so they have already thought up of contingency measures should a suspension of classes occur, which I have just declared so they can continue with the exams. The exams will be taken at home, and after that there will be no more classes,” said Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia during a multi-sectoral meeting at the Capitol Friday, March 13, to discuss measures to contain the disease.

In Cebu City, Mayor Labella also issued an executive order mandating all schools to implement distance learning, where schools must provide homework and online classes to students so they can continue to fulfill their educational requirements.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes suspended all school activities, including graduation rites and moving-up ceremonies.

Everybody’s on the same page, right? Right.

Now, who will see to it that the children stay at home and not spend their idle time playing games inside cramped internet cafes or roam the streets late at night?

Mayor Labella has already asked the Cebu City Police Office to help monitor that students remain in their homes. But what about the parents? Shouldn’t that be their responsibility? After all, the government will have their hands full with more pressing matters, so the least the parents can do is to look after their own children.

What I’m saying is, everybody, not just the government, must do their part to battle this pandemic. And I mean everybody.

The current situation should teach students several lessons such as the importance of obedience, compliance, cooperation and patience.

Two weeks at home may be an eternity, but these children should count themselves lucky they have technology as a companion. They have the world at their fingertips. For those who aren’t so fortunate, they can always read a book.

Of course, I’m painting a rosy picture. The children deserve that much. But I know they will emerge from this experience with a new outlook on life and the world. Hopefully, with their innocence still intact.