THE Department of Education in Central Visayas (DepEd 7) has urged the parents to enroll their children early or before the opening of classes on August 22, 2022.
DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, that the number of enrollees would serve as their basis for their preparations for the face-to-face classes.
"Nagsige tag awhag gyud nga unta ang atong ma ginikanan or ang mga guardians nga naay school-age children nga ipa-enroll na gyud unta because mao ni atoang basis for the determination as to how many teachers, how many classrooms, how many materials that we will be preparing," said Jimenez.
Jimenez said they already have more than a million enrollees in public and private schools in the region out of the more or less two million target for the school year (SY) 2022-2023.
While the enrollment started from July 25 to August 22, Jimenez said they will still accept late enrollees, especially those with valid reasons, such as circumstances that prompted the learners to transfer to another school.
He clarified, however, that the number of days that learners missed in school should not exceed by 20 percent of the total number of school days.
Based on data, he said there are still about 1,000 schools that have not yet encoded their enrollment in the system, particularly those in hinterlands and islands where there is no internet access.
But the regional director expressed optimism that they will hit their target number of enrollees for this coming school year, stressing that enrollees keep on increasing every year particularly in public schools amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, although he admitted that there was a decrease in private schools.
Despite that, Jimenez said there is a yearly increase of enrollees in totality, including in state universities that offer basic education.
Central Visayas has about 3,000 public schools in 20 divisions while there are about 1,000 private schools.
Jimenez emphasized that during the conduct of the limited face-to-face classes, there should be proper hand-washing facilities in schools and everyone should follow the required class size apart from wearing face masks.
He said one of their strategies would be shiftings, wherein they will break the total number of students into two sections (one in the morning and the other in the afternoon) to address shortage of classrooms.
Aside from that, Jimenez said they also coordinated with the local government units (LGUs) and other non-government organizations (NGOs) for the temporary learning space to ensure the observance of the minimum health protocols such as social distancing.
The regional director clarified that uniforms will no longer be required in public schools, adding that it would be the discretion of the parents should they wear it.
He said, though, that it would be better if there are NGOs that would like to donate.
Meanwhile, Jimenez said all the division offices have been conducting Brigada Eskwela, wherein the objective is to see and check the school preparations prior to the start of classes, including its safety for all the stakeholders, particularly the learners.
"It’s not just the physical aspect ang atong gitan-aw but preparations across aspects even ang atoang capability building para sa teachers, ato pod ng iapil since they are the ones who will be handling the learners kon unsaon, even orientation," he said.
Jimenez said the repairs on school facilities are still ongoing across Central Visayas, although majority of the damaged facilities during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in December 2021 have already been repaired.
He admitted that one of the challenges they are now facing is the "totally damaged classrooms" or those that have been destroyed that need replacement, adding that the construction was delayed due to the recent election ban.
As of Wednesday, August 3, Jimenez said the region needs about P2 billion for the repair of more than 2,000 damaged classrooms.
Meanwhile, Jimenez said they are focusing on the eight percent or about 240 schools of more or less 3,000 total public schools in the region who have not yet started the implementation of limited face-to-face classes.
Talking about limited face-to-face classes or blended type of learning, Jimenez emphasized that all students could to go school, but there will be schedules as to when and how many days in a week.
"In some areas, actually there is no prohibition as to implementing the full face-to-face classes starting August 22, so katong mga bukid nga gagmay ra og enrollment or mga isla nga layo ra kaayo sa posibilidad nga naay mag Covid in that area, so ato ra gyud pong gi-encourage pod nga mag full face-to-face classes na sila," he said, adding that teachers in hinterand schools usually stay there every weekdays.
Should schools want to implement the full face-to-face classes, Jimenez said there is no need for them to ask for a permit from the regional office, except for private schools.
He said division offices are given the discretion to check whether public schools are ready for the full implementation of the face-to-face classes.
Jimenez reiterated that vaccination is not required for students before they can join the face-to-face classes, however, they encouraged the students and others concerned to have themselves vaccinated against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for their own protection. (MKG)