Dagupan City mayor suspends school opening until Oct. 4

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 12) — The mayor of Dagupan City has suspended the opening of classes in all levels in his area until Oct. 4, citing risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an executive order published on online, Mayor Marc Brian Lim said the Sept. 13 opening would be suspended.

The E.O. said this includes "all school activities which will require face-to-face interaction and/or mass gathering...However, school activities not requiring the physical presence and/or face-to-face interaction among the stakeholders may be permitted to proceed."

It also said that schools previously allowed to open and have already started classes that do not require face-to-face interaction will not be covered.

The EO said the city government received a plea from a group of public school teachers for the postponement as teachers and personnel would risk exposure to the coronavirus.

"In view of the surge in cases, and the reclassification of quarantine status in Dagupan to general community quarantine, the city government issued several executive orders imposing stringent measures to arrest the surge in COVID-19 cases, and give the medical facilities sufficient time to cope with the steep rise in the number of positive cases," the order added.

In a televised briefing on Saturday, the Commission on Higher Education asked President Duterte to expand face-to-face classes to include more degree programs. 

Earlier, Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture head Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the country cannot afford to have another year without face-to-face classes, saying it could be done in places where there is low risk of COVID infection.

According to the Department of Health's COVID-19 tracker, Dagupan City has a total of 3,677 cases, with 535 active. Bed occupancy rate in the city is at 89.4%.