By Minerva Newman
DUMAGUETE CITY — The Department of Education (DepEd) Negros Oriental Division embarked on an initiative called “Project 2Big” that highlights the importance of water in the health and sanitation of school children especially in the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to DepEd-Negros Oriental Division Superintendent Dr. Senen Paulin, the project is part of the Brigada Eskwela this year. It is reconfigured to strengthen the linkage among schools, community stakeholders, and other agencies to ensure a protective learning environment for school children when they officially start schooling.
Paulin said the actual cleaning and repainting of classrooms and repair of damaged fixtures and school facilities that are the regular activities during the Brigada period will be put on hold due to COVID-19.
“Schools are instead directed to strengthen their partnership engagement to ensure that the delivery of basic education services will remain unhampered despite the challenges posed by the pandemic,” he added.
Paulin said that DepEd is instituting the simultaneous drinking of water as part of a healthy lifestyle as it is important to keep the children hydrated as part of the health and protective measures against the virus.
In case the students are in school for face-to-face sessions, simultaneous drinking will be made, and hand-washing facilities will be set up in schools for students to regularly practice handwashing.
DepEd-Negros Oriental encourages its community partners and stakeholders to participate donate water tumblers, thermal scanners, hand sanitizing equipment or materials, prints of COVID-19 and sanitation/proper hand washing hygiene information materials to aid Brigada Eskwela and Oplan Balik Eskwela in introducing protection and health protocols to learners and teachers.
Paulin said that DepEd wants to institutionalize the regular drinking of water among their students to impart to them the importance of hydration as well as hand washing.
Special face-to-face enrolment
According to Paulin, the DepEd is going into a remote enrolment scheme and administering learner enrolment surveys in households under their coverage areas to determine which mode of learning suits the students under the new normal.
Paulin added that DepEd-NegOr has considered special face-to-face enrolment in areas in the province without Internet access. The move is still part of the remote enrollment scheme implemented by DepEd nationwide to avoid physical contact and prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the enrollment period.
Under this scheme, class advisers will contact parents and guardians to provide the names of the enrollees for the upcoming school year and to fill out and submit a Learner Enrollment Survey Form (LESF).
The LESF is a data-gathering tool that determines what type of learning method or approach is suitable for a learner or a group of learners in a certain community and the forms are submitted online via email or text messaging.
Paulin added that DepEd acknowledged that there are still many people who are not yet capable of submitting it online, so it plans to set a date for “face-to-face” sessions to assist parents who have difficulty in answering questions or filling out the forms.
Paulin admitted that the online submission generated only 3,000 responses out of more than 185,000 students under the division’s coverage area. Some parents still prefer personal interaction during enrollment.
The DepEd Negros Oriental Division initially set to hold this on the third week of June but was put on hold as details are still being ironed out, including the approval from DepEd central office.