An elementary school located in a coronavirus-free village in Dagupan City will join the dry run for face-to-face classes starting 4 January.
Dagupan City Schools Division Superintendent Aguedo Fernandez said the Department of Education (DepEd) chose Salisay Elementary School after it passed the criteria for areas with none or lowest Covid-19 cases under modified general community quarantine; proper local government unit (LGU)-DepEd coordination; and cordial relationship with parents, who welcomed the plan when they were assured of their children’s safety.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved DepEd’s recommendation of DepEd to return to face-to-face classes in low-risk areas.
The school was also commended for its preparedness in the implementation of health protocols, Fernandez added.
Salisay has only two Covid-19 cases, both already recovered. As of 15 December, Dagupan City still has 78 active cases and 39 deaths out of a total confirmed 612.
“The school has proper entrance and exit markings. It is also complete with alcohol stations scattered throughout the area. The relationship among DepEd, parents, and the LGU is a big factor in order for the face-to-face classes be possible here,” Fernandez said.
To fully implement health protocols, the number of students will be limited and they will not go to school everyday.
Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the maximum class size will be between 15 to 20 students to ensure physical distancing will be followed.
Teachers may undergo symptom-based screening before the dry run.
“Rapid tests may not be necessary. We will rely on symptom-based screening but it will all depend on local officials,” he said.
Attending face-to-face classes will be voluntary, thus the parents’ permission is required.
In Central Visayas, DepEd recommended the local school divisions of Cebu Province, Lapu-Lapu City, Carcar City and Bogo City as participants. There are also proposals to join from Tagbilaran City in Bohol and Siquijor province.
DepEd-7 director Salustiano Jimenez said he has submitted a list to the central office, with 12 out of 19 school divisions in the region taking part in the pilot implementation.
A total of 1,114 out of 61,000 schools were nominated for the dry run, Secretary Leonor Briones said Wednesday during the Laging Handa briefing.
National Capital Region, Davao and Cotabato begged off, she added.
“The final listing will be lesser than 1,114. One of the most important requirements is a written consent from the parents,” she said.
DepEd has gotten mixed reactions from parents, with some furious about the proposal to return to classrooms, Briones narrated.
Classes in public schools nationwide resumed on 5 October under the blended distance learning setup.