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Davao
Tuesday, December 07, 2021
DAVAO

Editorial: Getting ready for face-to-face classes

ACCORDING to Unicef, "The Philippines is one of the five countries in the world that have not started in-person classes since the pandemic began, affecting the right to learn of more than 27 million Filipino students."

“In 2020, schools globally were fully closed for an average of 79 teaching days, while the Philippines has been closed for more than a year, forcing students to enroll in distance learning modalities. The associated consequences of school closures – learning loss, mental distress, missed vaccinations, and heightened risk of drop out, child labor, and child marriage – will be felt by many children, especially the youngest learners in critical development stages,” Unicef Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov said in a statement on August 25, 2021.

However, on September 20, 2021, President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the resumption of limited face-to-face classes.

On September 27, 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (DepEd) signed a joint circular for the guidelines of the implementation of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas.

DepEd is targeting to pilot the face-to-face classes in 120 schools. The agency will be prioritizing Kinder to Grade 3 for the physical classes. However, they will also have pilot classes for senior high school.

In Davao Region, DepEd-Davao spokesperson Jenielito Atillo told SunStar Davao in a previous interview that the agency has already indentified 18 public schools for limited face-to-face classes. These schools are from two provinces and one city. Davao City is not included in the initial list.

However, on September 27, 2021, Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio said they have already identified five schools for the pilot run of face-to-face classes in the city.

Schools that were identified are Dalagdag National High School with Senior High in Barangay Dalagdag, G. Tajo National High School with Senior High in Barangay Lampianao, Saloy National High School with Senior High in Barangay Saloy, Mabuhay Elementary School now Victor Bernal Integrated School with Kindergarten in Barangay Mabuhay, and Gumitan Elementary School with Kindergarten in Barangay Gumitan. These are mainly schools where the risk is low.

As classes open soon, DepEd and DOH assured that they have put in place health safety measures to ensure the safety of the students. Among those measures is requiring teachers who will participate in the face-to-face classes to be vaccinated.

"This (vaccination of teachers) was agreed on by the Department of Education and the Department of Health that...this (vaccination) should be there for us to ensure the safety of our children," DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

She said the vaccine cluster of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is fast-tracking the vaccination of teaching and non-teaching personnel in the country.

"Ako naniniwala na kung ating itutuloy itong pilot study, kailangan we ensure na whoever - the teachers, the staff, the officials - will deal with the children will be vaccinated. 'Yan din ang personal na paningin ko (I believe that if we are pursue this pilot study, we must ensure that whoever - the teachers, the staff, the officials - will deal with the children will be vaccinated. That's my personal stand)," DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said.

It will be busy days ahead for teachers and parents in the coming weeks as they prepare for the face-to-face classes. Aside from preparing the schools in terms of health safety measures, there is also a need for parents to prepare their kids for the new normal.

The resumption of face-to-face classes could be one of the biggest steps our country will take as we adapt to a new normal. The success of this move will rest heavily on us how we protect our children from contracting the Covid-19 and the school from becoming super-spreaders.


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