By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
A federation of private schools on Tuesday urged the government to help them by providing available assistance as they draw up plans for the opening of a new school year amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the country.
The Federation of Associations of Private Schools Administrators (FAPSA) said that its member-schools are currently discussing various plans and possible scenarios related to the opening of the School Year (SY) 2020-2021.
President Eleazardo Kasilag said that in a recent video conference, FAPSA officers have discussed the challenges brought about by the policies of the government in addressing the public health issue. “We have talked about this but we do not have the answer to all the questions,” he said.
FAPSA, which caters to issues on the operation of private schools as well as concerns on school management, said that its members are looking for various alternatives and set-up to adjust to the circumstances related to COVID-19. “We wonder how can the government help us,” Kasilag said.
Addressing the ‘new normal’
Kasilag said that due to the threat of the COVID-19, social distancing and isolation has been the “new normal.”
These, Kasilag noted,” will “surely change the landscape of education” but can be challenging not only for public schools but also for public schools. “The schools shall be the most affected where congregating and sardines-packed classes are also normal,” he said. “Social distancing simply can not be implemented in both public and private schools.”
To address the challenges brought about by the current COVID-19 situation, Kasilag said that FAPSA member-schools have initially agreed on a set of options that can be implemented this coming school year.
Among the adjustments that private schools will have to make, Kasilag said, is the adjustment in school calendar. “School calendar is definitely affected, class opening is anytime from July to August,” he added.
Based on Republic Act No. 7977 or “An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (200) days to not more that Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days,” the “school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.”
Kasilag also noted that private school “need to embrace Tablet Education to use eBook installed as modules”, thus, the connectivity or Wi-Fi is vital. “FAPSA [schools] needs fast, accurate private school application network,” he noted.
Likewise, Kasilag said that private schools are also looking into the possibility of implementing homeschooling or online learning which can be “side by side with physical classroom set-up.”