DepEd, CHED say no to calls for nationwide, Luzon-wide academic freeze

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2020   •   2079

College students in front of the Commission on Higher Education building calling for an end to the semester due to challenges in distance learning and the impact of recent typhoons that hit the country. (Photo courtesy: Philippine Collegian)

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities on Tuesday thumbed down calls for academic break following the spate of typhoons that devastated many areas in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Education (DepEd) said they understand the plight of many students but stressed that issuing an academic freeze is unlikely as the law clearly states the school calendar for each year.

“’Yung academic freeze ay baka sa ngayon po, humihingi po kami ng pang-unawa, ay hindi po tutugma sa batas na nabanggit ko. May batas na nagsasabi kailan ang unang araw ng pasukan at ilang araw bawat school year at kailan pupwedeng kanselahan po ito,” Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali said.

Instead of academic break, Umali said the department has implemented an “academic ease,” where students are given flexible time to submit requirements and activities under the distance learning program.

“Binibigyan na po natin ngayon ng diskresyon ang ating mga guro doon sa panahon na pwedeng gugulin ng mga bata para makumpleto ito. I-extend at piliin na lang yung mga exercises na halimbawa o activity sheets na tatalakayin o ipapagawa,” he said.

CHED, for its part, said decisions on the matter of class suspensions should be left on school authorities who know best the situation in their respective areas.

CHED chairman Prospero De Vera said a unilateral suspension is not a good policy as different schools and families were affected differently by the calamities. Decisions on this matter should also be based on what is actually happening on the ground.

Calls for an “academic freeze” surfaced following consecutive strong storms that hit the country in the previous weeks.

Various groups have raised the challenges posed by the recent disasters on students and teachers amid the implementation of distance learning programs.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the recent calamities did not have much effect on education since the primary mode of instruction is modular or online learning.

He also said that instead of academic break for state universities and colleges, they will only be allowed to extend their school calendars for one to two weeks.

“At ang desisyon ng CHED, hindi po papayagan ang academic break na hinihingi ng ilan. Kundi ang decision po ng en banc ng CHED ay para i-extend po yung mga pamantasan o mga kolehiyo na di po nakapagklase dahil sa bagyo ng one or two weeks para po matapos po ang kanilang semester,” he said.

Several universities have announced week-long class suspensions in light of the impact of typhoons, and the mental burden of students and teachers amid the calamity. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Pilot face-to-face classes sa ilang paaralan sa NCR, nagsimula na

Robie de Guzman   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Naging maayos ang pagsisimula ng pilot face-to-face classes ngayong Lunes sa ilang paaralan sa National Capital Region (NCR), ayon sa Department of Education (DepEd).

Ayon kay Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, wala pa silang natatanggap na anumang “adverse report” mula sa 28 paaralang kalahok sa pilot run ng in-person learning matapos ang halos dalawang taong school closures dahil sa COVID-19 pandemic.

“So far, it has been so smooth. We have officials of the department that are on the ground at both the central office and the regions. And up to this time ay I’ve been monitoring and we have not received any adverse report as of now,” ani Malaluan.

Mahigit sa 2,000 estudyante mula Kindergarten hanggang Grade 3 at senior high school ang kalahok sa pilot face-to-face classes sa NCR.

Sa Pasig Central Elementary School, pinadadaan ang mga mag-aaral sa disinfection station para maghugas ng kamay bago pumasok sa silid-aralan.

May temperature check din at foot bath pagpasok sa classroom. May distansya rin ang bawat upuan ng mga bata upang maseguro ang pagpapatupad ng physical distancing.

Ganito rin ang ipinatutupad na health protocols sa Aurora Quezon Elementary School sa Quezon City. Nakapila ang mga estudyante mula sa labas hanggang sa pagpasok sa silid-aralan.

Dumadaan rin sila sa temperature check habang nasa gate pa lang at required silang magsuot ng face shield at face mask.

Sa Comembo Elementary School, may markings rin para sa physical distancing. May inilaan ring jeep ang Makati City government para maghatid sa mga bata sa paaralan mula sa drop off point sa kanilang tirahan.

Sa Ramon Avancena High School naman sa Maynila, sinasanay ang mga estudyante na palagiang magsuot ng face mask. May barrier rin ang bawat lamesa.

Ayon sa DepEd, lahat ng 28 paaralan ang nakapagbukas ng face-to-face classes ngayong araw.

Kuntento rin ang kagawaran sa mga protocol na inilatag ng mga kalahok na paaralan sa NCR.

May schedule lang ang pagsasagawa ng face-to-face learning. Monday-Wednesday-Friday ang schedule ng iba habang meron namang araw-araw pero shifting ang oras ng pagsisimula ng klase kada grade level.

Hanggang apat na oras lang din pinapayagang manatili sa eskwelahan ang mga mag-aaral.

Ang 28 pilot schools sa NCR ay kasama sa halos 300 paaralan sa buong bansa na nagsasagawa ng face-to-face classes.

Nag-umpisa ang programa noong Nobyembre sa 100 public at 18 private schools at nadagdagan ng 174 ngayong Disyembre. (may detalye mula kay Correspondent Janice Ingente)

No COVID-19 case recorded so far in face-to-face classes – DepEd

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – No cases of COVID-19 have been reported so far in public schools participating in the pilot implementation of limited in-person learning, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Tuesday.

“Sa unang linggo po ng ating pagpapatupad ng pilot limited face-to-face ay wala po tayong naitalang kaso ng covid sa mga lugar na ito,” DepEd Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma said in a press briefing.

It has been a week since the department started the pilot testing of face-to-face classes in 100 schools in areas with low-risk classification for COVID-19.

The department, however, noted that some schools found it challenging to get students to strictly adhere to health and safety protocols as some children, especially those in kindergarten, tend to take off their face masks.

Others also tend to forget physical distancing as they interact with their classmates.

“Talagang hirap yung ating mga kindergarten learners na isuot yung kanilang mga maskara sa mahabang panahon, maya’t maya inaalis nung ating maliliit na mag-aaral,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.

But the DepEd said such behavior is expected among children since they are not used to wearing masks for long periods, and they were not allowed to go out of their homes due to the pandemic.

“Dito papasok yung role ng ating mga guro na continuously magpapaalala sa ating mga mag-aaral at sa iba pa na talagang iyong social o physical distancing ang pinakamahalagang bagay para masegurong walang mahahawa,” Garma said.

The DepEd reported that out of 70,000 listed students, over 70 deferred their attendance to physical classes for having flu-like symptoms prior to the program’s implementation.

Briones said these students will not be asked to undergo swab testing.

“Ayaw naman nating i-swab yung mga bata e… We might trigger accidents sinabi ko na yan e tutusukin mo yung (bata), sisipain ka ng bata o sisigaw, wala na. we will create more trauma for the child and also trigger accidents,” she said.

The DepEd earlier said it has prepared a contingency plan with recommended actions for various scenarios, which range from where there is a suspected case presenting symptoms, to a scenario where there is resurgence of COVID-19 cases in multiple barangays. This sets the policy on when schools should impose a lockdown.

Aside from public schools, 20 private schools have also been selected for the program. They started their pilot face-to face classes on November 22.

More schools are expected to participate in the next phase of the limited face-to-face classes, including those in the National Capital Region, depending on the result of DOH’s risk assessment.

The expansion phase is slated to begin by March 2022, based on DepEd’s timeline. (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

18 private schools start pilot face-to-face classes

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Selected private schools from various regions with low-risk for COVID-19 have started their pilot implementation of the face-to-face classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday.

The DepEd said 18 out of 20 private schools were able to push through with the pilot in-person classes on Monday. The two schools deferred their classes due to issues with the academic calendar.

Students participating in the program were able to follow health and safety protocols such as undergoing body temperature check, foot bath, and hand washing.

School personnel in personal protective equipment were also assisting the students to ensure they are observing physical distancing.

“Nakita ko ang kahandaan ng ating mga paaralan at ang pagtutulungan ng mga paaralan at ng mga local na pamahalaan,” said Jocelyn Andaya, director of DepEd’s Bureau of Curriculum Development.

Meanwhile, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) said it has requested DepEd for access to the process of monitoring and assessing the pilot in-person classes.

Attorney Joseph Noel Estrada, managing director of COCOPEA said this is to guide them in preparing for the reopening of the private schools from their association.

“Kami ay humiling din sa DepEd na kami ay payagan sa kanilang paglilibot or kahit virtually kami ay payagan ng access dun sa pagmo-monitor nila para makita namin yung actual implementation hindi lang dun sa 20 private schools kundi sa nag-participate din na mga public school para kami ay makakuha din ng inputs, makapag suggest ng mga pagbabago pagdating natin dun sa expanded phase ng limited face-to-face,” he said.

Estrada said three private schools that are members of COCOPEA were among those that piloted the limited face-to-face classes.

He added that more private schools, particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR) are just awaiting DepEd’s directive to resume physical classes.

“Tinitignan natin muna kung ano yung mangyayari dito sa pilot testing para mapaghandaan natin yung next phase ng implementation,” he said.

“Maraming nakaabang na once ma-expand na nga yung implementation sa mga ibang regions, lalo na dun sa may mga urban areas in fact sa NCR may mga ilang eskwelahan na naghihintay na lang na payagan din,” he added.

The pilot in-person classes in 100 public schools kicked off last November 15. (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)


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