Face-to-face classes may soon resume in Cebu Province

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THE Department of Education (DepEd) 7 recommended the implementation of limited face-to- face classes in public schools in the hitherland and island barangays in Cebu Province.

Dr. Salustriano Jimenez, DepEd 7 director, made the recommendation during the regular session of the Provincial Board (PB) on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.

But Jimenez clarified that he supports the resumption of limited face-to-face classes in those areas provided only a few students are enrolled in the public schools there.

Following Jimenez’s recommendation, PB Member Glenn Anthony Soco plans to file a resolution on Monday, Nov. 16, in support of the school official’s proposal.

Jimenez was invited during the session on Nov. 9 after the PB received around 160 resolutions issued by Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs) of various public schools that sought the resumption of face-to-face classes in Central Visayas.

During the session, Jimenez said he supports the resumption of face-to-face learning but it must be done gradually.

“It will be a gradual implementation. So, we’ll start from the hinterlands and island schools because the student population in those areas are really limited and we can easily implement health and safety protocols, such as observing strict physical distancing,” Jimenez said in Cebuano.

Jimenez also suggested implementing a two-day class week in public schools and only allow 50 percent of their student population to attend per session.

While two days will be spent for physical classes, the rest of the school week can be dedicated to blended learning, such as using modules, online and radio-based teaching, Jimenez said.

Jimenez said they have already submitted their proposal to the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF).

The proposal is set to be tackled by the national IATF in a month.

Aside from the PB, members of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu chapter also support DepEd 7’s plan.

In a resolution, LMP Cebu chapter members led by Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco said they support the DepEd’s plan provided the latter would comply with three requirements namely providing the LMP with an execution plan on how to implement face-to-face classes; inspecting schools to determine if they are now “new-normal” ready; and that they can secure a clearance from Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, from the IATF and DepEd Central Office.

“The League is not opposed to the prospect of limited face to face classes as proposed by the DepEd provided that the DepEd provides a clear policy, a more concrete execution plan and specific guidelines in order to ensure the health and safety of students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders during its implementation,” the LMP resolution said. (ANV / JKV)