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For the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the Philippines have opened up its schools for in-person classes.

This has been identified as one of the longest school lockdowns in the world.

The Philippines was one of the hardest hit countries in Southeast Asia and then-President Rodrigo Duterte ignored calls for reopening in person as he feared that it might ignite a new outbreak and cause even further harm to the country’s economy.

Many kids completed at least one academic year without ever meeting their teacher or fellow classmates in person. Kids flocked to the schools on Monday morning for their first day of in-person school since March 2020.

Many fear that the prolonged closure of schools will have a detrimental effect not only on the education crisis in the country but also on the social aspect of the children who were forced to stay at home all this time.

On Monday millions of kids flocked to the public schools wearing masks and being more than willing to stand in line to have their temperature taken. The excitement of it all was overwhelming.

Sophie Macahilig is a sixth grader at the Guevara Elementary School in Manila. She told the AFP news agency that she was “excited” to meet her classmates and teachers.

“We used to have fun and now I can have fun again.”

Image credit: Carnegie Corporation of New York

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