IT’S back to school for more than 24 million learners on October 5, 2020, nearly seven months after classes were suspended in the National Capital Region (NCR) and later in the rest of the country.
But instead of physically going to school, K-to-12 (kindergarten to Grade 12) learners and higher education students will be studying from home.
This is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to prohibit face-to-face learning sessions until a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) becomes available.
Under its Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan, which was drawn up to respond to the challenges spawned by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) will implement distance learning to ensure the safety of the learners, teachers and other stakeholders.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones has declared that they are ready. Simulation of distance learning methods has been successful, she said.
In a statement, DepEd said a simultaneous flag-raising ceremony nationwide at 7:30 a.m. Monday will kick off the opening of school year 2020-2021.
DepEd will livestream an inspirational message from Briones, who will also formally declare the opening of the new school year.
DepEd’s executive committee members as well as service and bureau directors will be on the ground to give live updates on the implementation of distance learning during the first day of classes in the different field offices or schools that they will visit.
Learning delivery modalities
Under the DepEd learning continuity plan, there are three primary learning delivery modalities, namely, modular distance learning, online distance learning and TV/radio-based instruction.
1. Modular distance learning
Under this modality, learners use self-learning modules (SLMs) in print or digital format and other learning resources like learners’ materials textbooks, study guides and activity sheets.
DepEd is distributing printed modules to schools that are located in coastal areas, far-flung provinces, and communities without access to the internet or electricity. These modules may also be accessed online.
Earlier, Briones said the modules are integrated in video lessons for K to 3 learners who require more auditory instruction.
She also said they have provided a set of modules for each region for contextualization.
The learners may ask the teacher for assistance via e-mail, telephone, text message or instant messaging.
Where possible, the teacher shall also conduct home visits for learners who need assistance.
Any member of the family or other stakeholder in the community will serve as para-teacher.
2. Online distance learning
In online distance learning, the teacher will facilitate synchronous instruction and engage the learners through videoconferencing technologies.
The learners may download SLMs from the DepEd Commons, DepEd Learning Resource Portal or from the schools learning management system, complete and submit assignments online, and attend webinars and virtual classes.
SLMs in PDF format are uploaded to the DepEd Learning Resource Portal while the SLMs in digital interactive format, inclusive e-books, and video lessons are uploaded to DepEd Commons.
Private schools that have been holding virtual classes since August conduct both synchronous and asynchronous learning sessions.
Synchronous sessions require a good and stable internet connection and are more interactive than other learning delivery modalities.
3. TV/radio-based instruction
This modality uses SLMs converted to video lessons for television-based instruction and SLMs converted to radio script for radio-based instruction.
DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Pascua, who is also the chairperson of DepEd Task Force Covid-19, on Sunday, October 4, posted the different television channels that learners may access.
Video lessons will be broadcast nationwide from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except Sundays, beginning on October 5 through IBC 13, Cignal, GSAT, Gracia, Solar, Skycable, ABS-CBN TV Plus and GMA Affordabox.