Over 3,600 schools in Central Visayas now holding limited F2F classes

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MORE than 3,600 public and private grade schools in Central Visayas have started the implementation of limited face-to-face (F2F) classes and its progressive expansion.

Salustiano Jimenez, director of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Central Visayas, told SunStar Cebu that more than 75 percent, or around 3,653 grade schools in the region, were already given safety seals as of Friday, May 27, 2022.

Jimenez said the majority of these are public schools, stressing that less than 200 were private schools.

He said 37 schools in Cebu City were given safety seals, while validation is ongoing for other public and private schools.

Central Visayas has more or less 3,000 public grade schools in 20 divisions while there are about 1,000 private schools.

Jimenez said Cebu City may be the only local government unit (LGU) in Cebu Island that has not yet started the implementation of limited F2F classes.

He said nearly 100 percent of the schools among the rest of the LGUs in Cebu are already implementing the F2F classes and even started its progressive expansion in the basic education or K-12.

Jimenez said the school division might be experiencing difficulty creating the schedule of classes because of the numerous schools and huge student population in the city.

Meanwhile, Jimenez said that simulations or dry-runs of the limited F2F classes are being conducted in most of the schools in the region in preparation for next school year 2022-2023, which is expected to open in August.

The regional director said they may still be implementing the limited F2F classes by the first quarter of the next school year.

"We will still be implementing the blended type of learning because we cannot be certain of what will happen in the future," he said, adding they just prepare everything so they can immediately return to modalities should there be another eventualities especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jimenez reiterated that joining the limited F2F classes is not compulsory, citing this as a shared responsibility that should be decided and approved by the parents, schools and the concerned LGUs.

"It's not compulsory, it's still voluntary because we cannot force them," he said, adding that they will not push through with the limited F2F classes if one of the three stakeholders will not agree.

He said forcing them to join the limited F2F classes may only create another issue, such as mental health, particularly for students and parents who are still afraid of getting infected with coronavirus.

The regional director, however, is still optimistic that parents will change their decision and submit their children to the ongoing simulations and dry-runs.

Jimenez also reiterated that students can join the form of classes regardless of their vaccination status.

"For learners, vaccination is not required although, we strongly encouraged that parents will have their children be vaccinated or inoculated," he said. (MKG, TPT)