The Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Division of Calbayog City has geared up its preparations for the start of limited face-to-face classes on November 15.
Four schools in the city form part of the group of 10 Eastern Visayas schools allowed to join the pilot run of the face-to-face classes.
DepEd Calbayog said there will be 104 kindergarten to Grade 3 students at the the Dawo Integrated School, 160 kindergarten to Grade 3 students at the Macatingog Integrated School, 110 at the Mawacat Elementary School, and 90 at the Pilar National Agricultural High School.
Only 15 students per classroom will be allowed in each of these schools.
DepEd Eastern Visayas Director Evelyn Fetalvero visited two of the participating schools in Calbayog City to oversee the preparations.
DepEd Eastern Visayas said in a statement that during her visit, Fetalvero stressed “the strong collaboration of the school and its local stakeholders as the key to a successful limited face-to-face classes pilot implementation.”
“She assured the school and the community that the Central, Region, and the Division Offices will continue to provide the appropriate financial and technical support for the pilot implementation,” the statement added.
The schools are in the Oquendo district, about 25 kilometers away from Calbayog City proper.
DepEd Calbayog City Division Information Officer Fernando Purcia-Medrina said the schools were chosen based on the recommendation of the City Health Office.
“We considered the number of COVID-19 cases of each area and found out that these four are the ones with zero cases,” Medrina told Rappler in a mix of Tagalog and English.
Three other schools in Samar will reopen: Motiong Central Elementary School, San Sebastian Central Elementary School, and Clarencio Calagos Memorial School of Fisheries (CCMSF) in Santa Margarita, Samar.
Fifty senior high school students under the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood track (SHS-TVL) from CCMSF will join the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes.
These strands include Cookery (Grade 12), Electrical Installation (Grade 12), Bread and Pastries (Grades 11 and 12), and Computer Systems Services (Grade 12).
In Leyte, three schools will also have limited face-to-face classes: Palo I Central School, Bato Central School, and Dolho Elementary School in Bato.
Overall, 21 schools have been allowed to reopen in the Visayas: 10 in Eastern Visayas, eight in Central Visayas, three are in Western Visayas.
‘100% to 200% ready’
The Schools Division of Calbayog City formed a composite team divided into four groups with seven to eight members set to be deployed to all four schools in Calbayog City.
These groups will help in the different preparations leading to the reopening of schools.
Teachers have also gone through various training exercises for mental health preparedness to help them adapt to their new environment.
DepEd Calbayog had also coordinated with the City Health Office and the local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to monitor the implementation of the limited face-to-face classes.
Meanwhile, DepEd Calbayog ramped up its vaccination program for 1000 teaching and non-teaching personnel in the last week of October as part of its preparations.
Medrina said they expect challenges along the way, considering the many changes in conducting face-to-face classes for the first time in nearly two years.
“In the preparation alone, particularly on the physical setup of schools from the gate to the classroom set up in response to the health protocols, there are already a lot of changes,” he said.
“I believe we are 100% to 200% ready. We understand that we still need to polish a lot of things prior to the opening on November 15 like monitoring and evaluation [but we are ready].” – Rappler.com
Lance Lim is a Visayas-based journalist from Iloilo City and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.