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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, May 23, 2020
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DepEd assures ‘safe back to school’
program for Western Visayas learners


The Department of Education (DepEd) in Western Visayas has been preparing its “safe back to school” program learning continuity plan to assure parents apprehensive about sending their children back to school.

The crafting of the learning continuity plan is one of the preparations being undertaken by the DepEd since the lockdown was implemented.

“We are having the learning continuity plan, which, of course, will be presented to our LGUs (local government units) once they are in place,” Dr. Lea Belleza, information officer of DepEd-Western Visas, said yesterday.

In the preparation of the plan, she said, they considered the capacity and competencies of teachers, surveyed available resources in the houses of learners, and conducted an inventory of the learning modules of schools' division offices.

DepEd will be employing various learning modalities and not just face-to-face learning once classes open, Belleza said.

They are toying with the idea of students spending four days in their homes for modular sessions and online lessons with teachers.

They will be physically present in school for a day.

Also the standard classroom will accommodate only 15 to 20 students.

“In the new normal in DepEd, they won’t be going to school every day. There will be a shortened number of hours where they will just choose the most essential learning competencies,” she said.

While there are free webinars for online platforms, the department is now planning for a series of training for the re-skilling and upscaling of teachers, she added.

Aside from the learning continuity plan, DepEd has also conducted a series of meetings and consultations with various sectors such as business, education, and LGUs.

A survey was also done to learn the sentiments of stakeholders as they prepare for the opening of the school year.

Schools, both public and private, are also reminded to install handwashing facilities.

Belleza said DepEd maintains its stand to open classes on August 24, as the law provides that the opening classes should be on the first Monday of June, or up to the last week of August.

“Of course it is only May. We can never tell after two months if we have further development. While we are waiting for that we still maintain our stand that classes will start August 24,” she said.

She added that they respect as well as understand the fears and doubts of parents.

Likewise, that they respect the stand of Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and Mayor Jerry Treñas that they will not encourage parents to send their children back to school amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“At the end of the day, it will always be the parents who will decide for their children. They are in the best position to decide for the welfare of their kids,” she said, adding that there are parents who may opt for home-schooling.

Western Visayas has a little more than two million learners from kindergarten up to senior high school.

On June 1, DepEd Western Visayas will host the virtual kickoff of the 2020 Oplan Balik Eskwela and the Brigada Eskwela.

It will be the first-ever virtual activity with the participation of the central, regional offices, schools division offices down to the school level, she said.

The virtual launching will be attended by DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones and other national officials who will deliver their messages through live streaming.*PNA


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