THREE public schools in Leyte are all set for the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes starting November 15, 2021, according to Dr. Manuel Albaño, Leyte Schools Division superintendent.

“There is no substitute for preparedness,” said Albaño.

The three Leyte public schools are Dolho Elementary School in Bato, with 13 students under the Indigenous Peoples Education program; Bato Central School, with nine students under the Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education program; and Palo I Central School in Palo, with two students enrolled under Special Education Program for Autism.

Albaño said the pilot schools had complied with the necessary preparations stipulated in the Department of Education-Department of Health (DepEd-DOH) and DepEd Memorandum No. 71 and 72.

The joint memorandum centers on Operational Guidelines on the Implementation of Limited Face-to-Face Learning Modality, while the two other directives are on the Preparations for the Pilot Face-to-Face and Transitioning to New Normal, and Accountability Map for the Preparations for the Implementation of the Limited Face-to-Face Learning Modality.

Albaño, together with other education officials, provided technical assistance to the three pilot schools before their selection.

In a statement, Albaño lauded the support of the respective local government units, private organizations, and other individuals on their support for the pilot classes.

According to the DepEd-DOH joint memorandum circular, schools that will be included in the pilot phase must be located in minimal risk areas, secure local government unit concurrence, pass the School Safety Assessment Tool, and secure parent's consent.

In a framework for reopening schools from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations Children's Fund, World Bank, World Food Programme, and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, it said that “disruptions to instructional time in the classroom can have a severe impact on a child’s ability to learn.”

“These negative impacts will be significantly higher for marginalized children. School reopenings must be safe and consistent with each country’s overall Covid-19 health response, with all reasonable measures taken to protect students, staff, teachers, and their families,” it added.

There are 100 public schools across the country that would begin limited face-to-face classes after President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the proposal, according to DepEd. (SunStar Philippines)