Lapu-Lapu private schools not ready for full F2F classes

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SOME private schools in Lapu-Lapu City are not yet ready for the full implementation of face-to-face (F2F) classes in November.

Dr. Wilfreda Bongalos, division superintendent of the Department of Education (DepEd) Lapu-Lapu City who met with representatives of 70 private schools in the city on July 18, 2022, said repairs of facilities that were damaged by Typhoon Odette in December 2021 are ongoing.

The same is true for some public schools in the city.

Bongalos, however, could not yet give the exact number of private schools with damaged facilities.

She said all the 70 schools will implement the limited face-to-face classes in August, adding that some have already started the blended learning this month.

The division superintendent earlier revealed that only 14 private schools have joined the limited face-to-face classes in March last School Year 2021-2022.

Bongalos also revealed that nine of the 79 private schools in the city have shut down their operations in the same school year.

She said the low number of enrollees and the schools’ capacity to hold online classes are the two main reasons why the schools, a mix of elementary and high school, opted to halt their operations.

As of Thursday morning, July 21, Bongalos said not a single private school has signified intention to return its operation for SY 2022-2023.

Meanwhile, Bongalos said they expect about 19,000 enrollees for this school year, a bit higher than the 18,000 enrolled students last school year.

In public schools, they expect about 110,000 enrollees, adding that they had around 107,000 students who enrolled in the past school year.

Lapu-Lapu City has about 81 public schools, 44 of which are elementary, while 27 and 10 are junior and senior high schools, respectively.

On July 12, DepEd said elementary and secondary schools in both public and private schools will have to resume the conduct of five-day face-to-face classes by November 2 this year regardless of the alert status of the areas where the schools are located.

It added that no school is allowed to implement purely distance or blended learning except for those that are implementing Alternative Delivery Modes (ADM), including homeschooling, modified in-school off-school approach, and night and open high schools that do not strictly follow the regular set-up for regular classroom instruction.

Schools are also ordered to ensure the maintenance of minimum health protocols, such as the wearing of face masks and the observance of physical distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday, July 19, ordered education officials, with the assistance of other concerned agencies, to iron out preparations and plans for the resumption of face-to-face classes in the country this year.

Marcos highlighted several issues during his meeting with DepEd officials, including its secretary, Vice President Sara Duterte, such as the availability of classrooms and teachers and the increasing number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, which may be encountered during the re-opening of in-person classes.

He also asked DepEd to include internet connectivity among the issues to be addressed.

If these challenges will not be addressed, Marcos said the government will have no choice but to continue carrying out blended learning in specific areas.

"Ang gawin na lang natin i-identify saan ‘yung areas na magbe-blended learning para maka-focus tayo. Ihanda ‘yung mga devices at mga kailangan nila na noong pandemic hindi nasu-supply-an sa mga bata," Marcos said.

"We continue with blended learning pero in very specific places lamang. As much as possible, face-to-face na talaga," he added.

In response, Duterte assured that they will prepare a plan on what to do beyond October 31. (MKG)

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