President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent order to postpone the trial face-to-face classes was a “sigh of relief”, Negros Occidental Schools Division Superintendent Marsette Sabbaluca said.
This is because of the apparent lack of preparations by most local government units for the planned shift to face-to-face learning, the highest Department of Education official in the province pointed out.
“This is a sigh of relief for most teachers, who have apprehensions on the safety of students since the order was given only in the month of December and the supposed implementation is set January next year,” Sabbaluca said.
Not all selected pilot schools under the division, she added, have done coordination with parents, city or municipal officials, barangay leaders and barangay health units.
There are 13 LGUs under the provincial schools divisions, but only four town mayors said that they are ready for the face-to face trial classes.
Most of the mayors would rather wait for the trend of COVID-19 cases to go down before they can commit to send students to school even on a voluntary basis, she continued.
Face-to-face learning will deload teachers in the task of printing the modules but it does not guarantee the safety and health risks that come with it for both students and teachers.
Road safety and transport of students to and from the schools are also relevant concerns, she said, adding that most pilot schools chosen for the program are located in remote villages, where there are zero to very low COVID–19 cases.
Most schools in urban centers, on the other hand, are being used as quarantine facilities, Sabbaluca said.
There are 734 elementary and high schools under the division office, of which 599 are public schools, while 135 are private institutions.
The division has a total of 323,404 students in public schools and 25,797 in private schools enrolled for the current school year attending online classes, or accomplishing distance learning modules. – MML