Minors to be allowed to enter computer shops for online classes

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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, temporarily suspending certain provisions of Ordinance No. 66, series of 2020 to authorize computer shops to operate and allow the entry of minors, provided that, their entry shall only be for online classes and other school-related activities.

In a resolution, city legislators stated that administrators, managers shall see to it that the students who enter their computer or internet shops shall only access their online class sites.

However, the council pointed out that the minimum health protocols, especially the prescribed physical distancing, disinfection and proper ventilation will be strictly observed in the computer and internet shops.

Ordinance No. 66, series of 2020, regulates the operation of computer shops, internet shops, and internet cafes in the city and provided penalties for violations and for other purposes.

Under the prescribed guidelines for the operation of computer shops, minors or individuals below 18 years old will only be allowed in the aforesaid shops until 8:30 pm daily even if accompanied by a guardian.

According to the council, minors shall not be allowed inside the premises of the computer shops, internet shops or internet cafes during class hours unless accompanied by a teacher or school authority.

If not accompanied by a school authority, the council stipulated a written letter by a school head should be issued and be immediately surrendered to any authorized personnel for verification and appropriate sanctions will be imposed against identified violators.

Among the prohibited acts of customers inside the computer shops, internet shops and internet cafes include elementary and secondary level students who are still minors are not allowed to enter the said shops during class hours from Mondays to Fridays and on Saturdays if there are schedules of classes on the said days, and students who are not minors who will do research works in computer rental shops will be allowed only between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. the following morning.

The council claimed that with the rising need of the students to internet access which the internet shops readily provide, there is a need to suspend certain provisions of Ordinance No. 66, series of 2020 for the students to catch up with their online classes.

Further, the council said that the country is in an extraordinary situation because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and everyone is affected and human activities are slowed down or modified as well as human interaction is minimized.

The education, consequently, shifted from the physical classroom settling to blended learning or a combination of the modular and online classes because under any of the existing circumstances, learning must still continue where digital education has become the new normal.

The council noted that in the implementation of the blended learning approach for the present school year, the same requires the use of internet gadgets and internet connectivity, thus, students who have no means to acquire the gadgets and connectivity at their homes resort to the services of computer and internet shops but certain regulations had been imposed on the operation of the aforesaid shops in the city. By Dexter A. See

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