MANILA - Select students of two schools in Manila went back to school on Monday after nearly two years for the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes.
The Department of Education (DepEd) gave its go-signal to Aurora Quezon Elementary School in Malate and Ramon Avancena High School in Quiapo.
They are among the 28 public schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) that passed the rigid assessment of DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH).
Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and Division of City Schools head Dr. Magdalena Lim led the inspection of the two Manila schools.
Sixty students from Kinder to Grade 5 participated in the pilot run in Aurora Quezon while 15 senior high students attended in-school classes at Ramon Avancena.
Lacuna assured parents that their children are protected as health and safety protocols are strictly imposed.
"Napaka-importante nito dahil iba pa rin kasi talaga ang ginagawa natin na pagtuturo at pag-aaral kapag face-to-face. May interaksyon kasi kapag ganito, nawala kasi 'yung interaction natin sa mga bata so talagang looking forward sila na makabalik sa kanilang mga school (This is very important because teaching and learning are different in a face-to-face setting. There is interaction. The children have been looking forward to returning to school)," Lacuna said in a statement.
Schools must implement the Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate framework highlighting the importance of availability of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, and proper ventilation and layout that will enable physical distancing in classrooms.
"We want to ensure that we provide safe learning spaces for children during this pandemic. The pilot run will be a shared responsibility among DOH, DepEd, and local government units to ensure that mechanisms are in place from prevention of Covid-19 infection to reintegration of recovered patients," DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a previous statement.
He said it is a shared responsibility among school management, teachers, and families for ensuring that all minimum public health standards are observed and possible Covid-19 cases are detected early through regular symptoms screening and reporting.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones also said in another statement that "utmost priority is the health and safety of our learners and teachers while ensuring that learning happens and learning gaps are addressed".
"We have been proactive in planning for safe return to schools. The operational guideline for the pilot run of face-to-face classes is a product of our collaboration with DOH, in consultation with various stakeholders, including child health experts. This will only be applicable for the schools that passed the strict vetting process by DepEd and DOH, and have the support of their respective local government units," Briones stated.
Face-to-face classes were suspended in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic was declared. (PNA)