Updated: Oct 25, 2020

The operative words are ‘if’ and ‘until’.

If only someone could go microscopically small like DC’s (the superhero magazine) Atom or his more popular counterpart, Marvel’s Ant-Man, then, analysing this confusingly invisible (to the naked eye) yet tangibly deadly (corona)virus would have been easier said and done since seeing it at extreme close up (level) becomes a possibility. So, slicing-splicing genomes is simpler making the unstable nature of this pesky cell killer swiftly comprehensible resulting to the invention of a risk-free vaccine.

Until this somebody comes out/back from the ‘Quantum Realm’, it would be sanest to go on with one’s “new normal” life and find ways to be productive while staying “negative” (of COVID-19) and being “positive” of the future…err…embracing the present seems to be the better starting point of adjustment, carrying fine-tuned actions-memories through by the day.

In this pandemic-ridden milieu, leaving one’s abode, which was the ‘norm’ before, became the final in a short list of options sacrificing human nature to wander and discover the great outdoors for work and play.

Hence, the 180-degree pivot to learn/work-from-home (L/WFH) is transformed into a fad as parents and children divide/share work and study spaces along with available gadgets according to each family’s relative budget. The turn was not the complete 360 degrees in affirmation of Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones’ testimony that this remote learning setup is not all-new in the least with alternative job arrangements ratified into law ahead of the infection outbreak implying that labor efficiency can also be satisfied inside the comforts of home.

Challenges will expectedly plague these home-based circumstances as is the case with the usual learning and working settings. For one, rising straight from deep slumber in a mad dash to properly digest breakfast and fully appreciate the morning sun were buried beneath the learners-workers’ subconscious in the “old normal.” The 8/9-hour daily grind proves excessively draining at the expense of dear family “quality (bonding) time” with some/most fathers/mothers even spending longer stretches in accomplishing office papers and attending business meetings leaving lonely children longing for parental attention-affection. These children-learners may have had a bad day as well in a sometimes insecure school environment where they are taught to frigidly achieve academic excellence in the face of bullies (psychologically imbalanced individuals) whose majority are apparently there to only goof around riding on the idea that students have their own pace when it comes to flattening the learning curve.

On the other side of the fence, distance learning/working yields equally disturbing nuisances depending on the socioeconomic family conditions. Lower middle, low/er/est household classes are certainly in financial limbo (right now) bucking the contagion whiplash while getting by on meager resources. Thus, the Online Distance Learning (ODL) modality is a big no-no for children under these fiscal categories as their parents-guardians are in dire monetary straits whose blue-collar occupations may not be structured via WFH format. Pityingly so, the more reason to believe that they cannot be required to acquire laptops and mobile phones with constant Internet/wifi connection. Being sensitive to this situation, DepEd devised the Modular Distance Learning (MDL) approach proclaiming to the common folks nationwide, especially those in the far-flung regions where even TV and radio signals are choppy, that there is “no need to buy gadgets.” Contrary to ODL, MDL is the offline option wherein self-learning modules or learning packets will be regularly distributed (and retrieved from) to students minus the technological requirements. However, there are early apprehensions as to how Modular Distance Learners can cope with the constrictions of not being able to constantly contact their teachers in times of doubt when nobody (is at) home is qualified enough to enlighten them on technical subject matters.

Middle, higher middle, higher income classes are not exempted from anxieties particularly the first one in line. As stated earlier, middle class families may have devices prior to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 illness but the amount came up short when the disease hit as all family members already need one each not to mention the separate spaces each one needs for L/WFH to prosper. As regards the rich clans, they have no worries whatsoever about finances but the hassle of who’s going to guide their kids at home cannot be shouldered by the nanny alone whose educational attainment might even be lesser than the child she’s taking care of. Now, here comes the tutor—an additional expenditure but a necessary one at that. Anyway, this person must be a fixture in these elegant mansions where both parents are always out late managing private enterprises, the relevance of which may be equivalent to the persons whose very lives they finance. Unfortunately, this results to absentee parent(ing) that translates to juvenile delinquency. Interestingly, this incident is not exclusively synonymous to the rich but wantonly victimizes all types of families.

Exposés. These are what this (new) coronavirus sickness is further zooming on a million times over. The L/WFH quandary is no Catch-22 and it is barely a scratch on the economic surface.

Filipinos’ supreme belief in (a) God keeps them from drowning—afloat the virulent cesspool of infections as their psyches submerge into the Holy Waters of Faith keeping the pandemic waves at bay. Well, only if and until they all reach the shore safe will a rumbling declaration of devotion be advanced. Nonetheless, the virus never stops resurrecting sending the message to the Philippines and the whole world that getting used to L/WFH is the next best cost-effective thing and this will only work best when people all learn to fix its further exposed leaks.

if and until philosophical and psychological maturity dawns on humankind…

Remember, the operative words are ‘if’ and ‘until’.

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