AT LEAST 29 schools have backed out from conducting face-to-face classes due to increasing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in their respective areas, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Tuesday, October 19, 2021.
DepEd Director Malcolm Garma said out of the 59 schools identified to join the in-person classes, only 30 will continue with the implementation on November 15.
The 30 schools include the following:
1. Sinalongan Elementary School in Masbate City
2. Gutusan Elementary School in Masbate City
3. Mary B. Perpetua National High School in Milagros
4. Mayabay Elementary School in Barbaza
5. Igsoro Elementary School in Bugasong
6. Laserna Integrated School in Nabas, Aklan
7. Basak Elementary School in Samboan
8. Mahanlud Elementary School in Malabuyoc
9. Cabagdalan Elementary School in Balamban
10. Luyongbaybay Elementary School in Bantayan
11. Cañang-Marcelo Luna National High School in Oslob
12. Busay National High School in Moalboal
13. Pilar National High School in Pilar
14. Siocon Elementary School in Bago City
* Zamboanga Sibugay
15. Siloh Elementary School in Silay
16. San Vicente Elementary School in Payao
* Zamboanga del Sur
17. Manga National High School in Pagadian City
18. Manga Elementary School in Pagadian City
19. Lala Elementary School in Pagadian City
20. Sominot National High School in Simonot
21. Tabina Elementary School in Tabina
22. Guipos National High School in Guipos
* Lanao del Norte
23. Dalama Central Elementary School in Baroy
24. Babalaya Elementary School in Bacolod
25. Napo Elementary School in Linamon
26. Masibay Integrated School in Nunungan
27. Tambacon Integrated School in Magsaysay
28. Marcela T. Mabanta National High School in Kauswagan
* North Cotabato
29. Paco National High School in City of Kidapawan
30. Bato Elementary School in Makilala
Of those that backed out, one is located in Bicol Region, four in Central Visayas, 17 in Zamboanga Peninsula and seven in Soccsksargen.
Garma said the concerned local government units and the parents of the students of the 29 schools also expressed various concerns with the two-month pilot implementation of face-to-face classes.
But he said 46 more schools have expressed intention to join the pilot implementation, but it is still being reviewed by the DepEd, together with the Department of Health (DOH).
The DepEd is targeting at least 100 schools in areas that are low risk to Covid-19 for the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes.
In a statement, the Teacher’s Dignity Coalition (TDC) said it is demanding an agreement from the DepEd to ensure that assistance will be given to the teachers in case they contract the coronavirus while the pilot implementation of in-person classes is ongoing.
TDC chairman Benjo Basas said seeing whether the country's education system is capable of returning to in-person schooling is equally important in ensuring the safety not only of the students and their parents but also of the teachers.
"Upang matiyak ang pananagutan, dapat lumagda sa isang dokumento ang DepEd na tutulong o mananagot ang ahensiya sakaling mayroong mahawaan ng Covid-19 dahil dito (pilot face-to-face classes)," he said.
Garma said 317 out of the 444 school personnel in the participating schools were fully vaccinated.
The DepEd earlier said the teachers joining the face-to-face classes should be fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, in a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the minimal number of coronavirus infections among teachers and students in the collegiate level participating in the limited face-to-face classes in selected areas as reported by the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) is not a cause of concern.
“No (it is not a cause of concern) because in-person classes are only conducted in places with low numbers of Covid-19 cases,” he said.
“Also, our Covid-19 vaccination coverage rate is increasing. We need to live with the Covid-19 virus and go back to our normal lives because Covid-19 vaccination is ongoing,” Roque added.
The face-to-face classes have been conducted particularly for courses that needed skills training. (SunStar Philippines)