ILOILO CITY — As school year 2021-2022 opened Monday, the Department of Education (DepEd) is awaiting clearances for face-to-face classes for 25 identified schools in Western Visayas as the threat of COVID-19 continues.
DepEd Regional Director for Western Visayas Ramir Uytico explained that the decision is ultimately with President Duterte and DepEd Central Office.
“If it’s going to be allowed, then go. If not, then we should not force it. We have to be very cautious. We are dealing with lives,” Uytico emphasized.
Since last year, DepEd has been identifying schools in far-flung places of Western Visayas that might be suitable for face-to-face classes instead of the current practice of distance learning.
But for the past three months, the emergence of new COVID-19 variants did not stop the spread of new COVID-19 cases. There are still surges of new cases even as the government’s vaccination programs are ongoing.
Of all areas, Negros Occidental province has the most number of schools identified for face-to-face classes with 13 and followed by Iloilo province with five schools.
There are two schools each identified in Antique and Guimaras provinces while one school each in Aklan province and Bacolod City.
Meanwhile, approximately 1.5 million students are currently enrolled in both public and private schools. More will be added as DepEd extended enrolment until September 30.