Safety first: Gov, mayor want one-year delay in school opening


Opening schools amid the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic could put the health and safety of students in peril, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and City Mayor Jerry Treñas warned.

Both Defensor and Treñas believe that a one-year delay in the students’ schooling is the more prudent course of action.

The Department of Education recently decided to open school year 2020–2021 on August 24, 2020. Education Secretary Leonor Briones called on public school teachers and employees to report back to work on June 1, 2020 to prepare for the new school year. (

According to the governor, deciding on the resumption of classes should weigh heavily in favor of students’ safety, more so because the Covid-19 health crisis remains fluid.

Nobody could say for certain that by August, the Covid-19 pandemic would have ceased, he added.

Defensor said he would rather forego school year 2020-2021 so that everybody could focus on overcoming SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 and which still does not have a vaccine.

“Will life grind to a halt just because schools won’t open for a year? Of course not. The one-year delay is not that much when you consider the risk we’re subjecting our students if we open our schools at this time.”

For his part, Treñas said he won’t actively encourage students to go to school at this time.

“We know the virus is still there, and the possibility of its transmission remains great if there is no physical distancing,” he said.

According to him, he would leave it to the parents to decide on their children’s schooling.

“If they will not let their children go to school, we will not insist on the contrary,” said Treñas.

He added: “What is one year of school closure anyway? We’re talking about human lives here.”