Bucking global trend, millions of Philippine students start school year remotely.

As jubilant students across the globe trade in Zoom classes for classrooms, millions of children in the Philippines are staying home for the second year in a row, fanning concerns about a worsening education crisis in the country.

The country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, has justified keeping elementary schools and high schools closed, arguing that students and their families need to be protected from the coronavirus. The pandemic has been surging in recent months as the country struggles with the Delta variant. The Philippines has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Asia, with just 16 percent of its population fully inoculated.