52 schools in Region 7 ‘ready’ for return of face-to-face classes
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Selected public schools in Central Visayas are ready to resume face-to-face classes, according to the Department of Education (DepEd-7) here.
DepEd-7 on Monday, September 20, 2021, welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to approve the implementation of limited face-to-face classes in the country.
Director Salustiano Jimenez confirmed to reporters that Central Visayas is among the regions wherein chosen schools will return to face-to-face classes.
“We’ve heard of the announcement and right now, we’re just waiting for the official communication, letter from central office… We’ve been waiting for this for a year, and we hope this will push through,” said Jimenez in a mix of English and Cebuano.
President Duterte has approved the holding of pilot face-to-face classes in areas with minimal risk for COVID-19, Malacañang announced Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the classes will be held on half-days and will only be every other week.
It will be the Department of Health that will determine the risk for COVID-19 in several areas, and classes should also pass the “safety assessment” of DepEd.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the start of pilot classes has no exact date yet but it will be implemented in 100 public schools.
52 Public Schools Selected
In Central Visayas, DepEd-7 has endorsed a total of 52 public schools to be part of the pilot program, and all are ready to transition to the face-to-face learning arrangement.
However, Jimenez clarified that they have yet to receive feedback and approval from DepEd’s central office for further details.
“We’re still waiting for their response to see if all, or only some, of the schools we endorsed will be going back to face-to-face,” he said.
“But all of them are ready. Actually, they have started preparations for already year,” he added.
Voluntary, not compulsory
Jimenez also said they only endorsed public schools, located in areas ‘low risk’ to any COVID-19 outbreak, for the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes.
“There were no private schools since we have not received any applications from them but if they will submit, we will definitely entertain them,” he said.
Among the requirements schools must have in joining DepEd’s pilot face-to-face classes included a ‘written support and consent of the parents of students and the support of local government units through resolutions or letters of support.’
Meanwhile, should face-to-face classes in Central Visayas push through in selected schools, it is still up to the parents to decide if they want their children to attend classes.
“Again, this is voluntary, not compulsory. If in the previous they were willing to send their children back to school, but now they change their mind, we cannot force them to reconsider their decision,” said Jimenez.
The Philippine government was supposed to hold the pilot run for in-person classes earlier this year but President Duterte cancelled this over the emergence of more infectious COVID-19 variants. / with reports from INQUIRER.net
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