SCHOOLS affected by deadly disasters last year will be back to normal operations as School Year 2014-2015 opens on Monday, a Department of Education (DepEd) official said.

Over 22,000 private and public schools catering to more than seven million students were affected by the Zamboanga siege and Bohol earthquake last October and Typhoon Yolanda last November.

“Normal na po ang pagbabalik eskwela sa mga lugar na nasalanta ng mga kalamidad, though may ibang school na hindi pa totally gawa at may ilan pang hindi magagamit, may mga makeshift school naman tayo na pansamantalang doon muna ang ating mga mag-aaral,” DepEd Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said Sunday.

Umali said there are two schools in Tacloban and in Leyte still being used as temporary shelter of 246 families.

Some 20.9 million students are expected to return to or enter public schools nationwide this year with 1,796,566 in kindergarten; 13,324,349 in elementary; and 5,805,047 in high schools, DepEd data showed.

There were 20,880,791 enrollees last year.

Some three million students will study in private schools, barely unchanged from 2013.

The DepEd has provided 500,000 learning kits and other learning materials to the calamity-affected students and teachers.

Umali said the DepEd has also attained the ideal 1:1 student to textbook and student to school seat ratio and as well as the 1:40 to 45 teacher/classroom to students ratio.

“Wala na tayong classroom shortage but we are lacking of buildable spaces in several areas particularly in the National Capital Region,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy more than 20,000 police personnel in the areas near schools and universities nationwide on Monday.

A total of 18,580 police personnel will be deployed and 7,441 police assistance desks will be established nationwide in coordination with local government units (LGUs), parents' teachers associations (PTA), and non-government organizations (NGOs), said PNP spokesperson Reuben Theodore Sindac.

“Hindi po lahat inilabas natin sa daan, karamihan lang po kasi may ibang trabaho pa din naman po ang mga pulis na kailangan nilang tugunan but we are confident na as planned, we will make sure na safe po ang ating mga estudyante,” he said.

The PNP currently has 148,000 police personnel all over the country.

Sindac said the PNP will focus on the prevention of bullying and street crimes including pickpocket, snatching, swindling, robbery, hold-up and street level drug trafficking.

The PNP will also deploy the Explosives Ordnance Division team with bomb sniffing dogs in schools to sanitize environs and to respond to any bombing or bomb threat.

To avoid traffic jams particularly in Metro Manila, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will field 1,600 personnel along major thoroughfares leading to schools, universities and colleges to enforce traffic rules and regulations and provide traffic direction on the opening of classes.

The MMDA deployed forces in the areas identified as traffic-prone.

The Edsa Special Traffic and Transport Zone (Edsa-STTZ) will cover the entire stretch of Edsa with critical choke points (Cubao, Aurora, Balintawak Cloverleaf).

The Western Traffic Enforcement District (WTED) will cover the University Belt in Manila.

The Northern Traffic Enforcement District (NTED) will cover the Camanava area (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela).

The Central Traffic Enforcement District I (CTED I) will cover Quezon Avenue; E. Rodriguez Avenue; Aurora Boulevard; Mindanao Avenue and Congressional Avenue all in Quezon City.

The Central Traffic Enforcement District II (CTED II) will cover Katipunan Avenue and C.P. Garcia Avenue, Quezon City.

The Eastern Traffic Enforcement District (ETED) will cover the cities of San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Marikina and also the major thoroughfares of Ortigas Avenue, C-5, Meralco Avenue and Marcos Highway.

The Southern Traffic Enforcement District (STED) will cover the cities of Makati, Pasay, Parañaque, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Taguig.

The Commonwealth Special Traffic District (CSTD) will cover the Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

“All is well. We will welcome our students safe and sound,” Sindac said.

Militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), however, will welcome the school opening with protest calling for the junking of tuition increases and for a significant increase in teachers’ wages.

Carrying book-shaped placards, the workers will also call attention to the plight of fellow workers who were dismissed from work and are facing the school year without a steady source of income.

The protest will be held on Monday morning at Plaza Miranda outside Quiapo Church in Manila. (Third Anne Peralta/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)