Bicol public schools gear up for face-to-face classes

File photo via Official Gazette

LEGAZPI CITY – Public schools in Bicol are preparing to hold in-person classes in January in anticipation of the approval of the Department of Education's (DepEd) proposal to hold limited “face to face” (F2F) classes in towns and cities with low risk of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) contagion, a ranking DepEd official said on Tuesday.

Gilbert Sadsad, DepEd regional director, in an interview said his office has submitted to their central office the list of public elementary and K-12 schools that could implement the in-person classes in the 107 towns and seven cities in Bicol.

Sadsad said after careful consideration of the status of Covid-19 cases in the region, the agency said 1,200 or 30 percent of the 3,800 public schools in Bicol may pursue a blended learning system -- a combination of limited in-person classes and home modular or online classes.

He said the in-person classes would be a pilot program next month in identified schools in low-risk areas and endorsed by the local government unit (LGU), the DepEd Division or District and approved by DepEd Regional and Central office and the national and regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Sadsad said half of the class would hold face-to-face classes for two days while the other half would hold modular or on-line classes at home for three days and vice versa the following week.

The in-person classes would be carried out following the strict Covid-19 health protocols such as wearing of masks and face shields, physical distancing, and setting up of plastic barriers/dividers between students and teachers.

Mark Kevin Arroco, DepEd-Bicol assistant spokesperson said the limited in-person classes would be an off-shoot of a resolution from LGUs in Bicol and other regions asking the agency and the IATF to consider holding the face-to-face program in areas where there are minimal cases of coronavirus.

He said this would relieve the students as well as their parents of the problems of internet connectivity and in accomplishing the class modules. (by Mar Serrano, PNA)