Cebu teachers, students meet face to face after almost 2 years

·3 min read

FOR the first time in almost two years, public school teacher Rabie Pasturan donned his uniform on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 not to face his laptop, but to finally see in person his students at Pilar National High School (NHS) in the Camotes Islands.

“I was teary-eyed when I saw them because I knew that the children wanted to go back to school too,” Pasturan said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

On Monday, the Philippines kicked off its limited face-to-face (F2F) classes in pilot schools amid the improving Covid-19 situation.

Eight public schools in Cebu, including Pilar NHS, were among the 100 public schools nationwide chosen to participate in the pilot program initiated by the Department of Education (DepEd) after President Rodrigo Duterte gave his go signal.

This is the first time for students to attend in-person classes after almost two years of distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which started in March 2020.

Aside from Pilar NHS, the pilot schools are Basak Elementary School in Samboan, Cañang-Marcelo Luna National High School in Oslob, Luyongbaybay Elementary School in Bantayan, Mahanlud Elementary School in Malabuyoc, Busay National High School in Moalboal, Cabagdalan Elementary School in Balamban, and Siocon Elementary School in Bogo City.

In a statement Monday, November 15, the Department of Education (DepEd) welcomed the participating students, teachers and personnel of about 100 public schools and thanked everyone who supported the return of in-person classes.

“We are thankful to everyone who supported this key phase in our safe return to school advocacy, from the planning stage since 2020 to this monumental day,” DepEd said. All local government units included in the limited F2F classes belong to low-risk areas for Covid-19.

Students are required to wear face masks in schools. They need to wash their hands first at the washing station and then have their temperature checked. The students then need to sanitize their hands again and proceed to the triage where they will be given a health declaration form to check if they are feeling fine. After fulfilling these measures, the students can enter the classroom where plastic barriers are mounted in between seats to prevent virus transmission.

The classroom must also be well ventilated and teachers must see to it that the seats are properly distanced.

Oslob school

At Cañang-Marcelo Luna NHS in Oslob town, the pilot implementation of the face-to-face classes attended by 71 senior high school students went smoothly on Monday.

Michael Angelo Magalso, the school’s officer in charge, said the school did not meet any obstacle during the first day. There were some senior high school students who came to school late, he said.

The school, said Magalso, had prepared for the students’ safety by putting up improvised plastic barriers, and placing health protocol signs and warnings at the entry and exit points of the classrooms.

Classes at Cañang-Marcelo Luna NHS are scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays are for disinfection of classrooms.

Magalso said only teachers vaccinated against Covid-19 were allowed to teach.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado Antonio inspected the pilot schools with the monitoring team of the department headed by DepEd Region 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez and DepEd Cebu Province Supervisor Marilyn Andales on Monday. (JOB, ANV, LMY / SunStar Philippines)

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