DepEd urged to take note of 1st day challenges under pilot face-to-face classes

Published November 17, 2021, 3:56 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

As the country partially reopened its schools this week, the Department of Education (DepEd) was urged to take note of the challenges experienced by the schools included in the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes.

Pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in Mary Perpetua E. Brioso National High School in Tigbao, Milagros Masbate (Photo from DepEd)

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines said that DepEd should take note of two of the most important components of safe school reopening: screening testing among participating teachers and learners, and strictly enforcing the ‘Schools as Zones of Peace’ policy.

On Nov. 15, the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes was set to start in 100 public schools which were already assessed and screened by DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH).

However, three schools in Zambales postponed their school reopening after some teachers tested positive in the COVID-19 antigen testing.


3 public schools in Zambales postpone first day of pilot face-to-face classes — DepEd

“Weekly screening testing for face-to-face classes should be a national policy as it would sizably lessen the probability of COVID-19 outbreaks in schools,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

“The national government should take the responsibility of funding these tests so that it can be implemented nationwide, even and especially in areas where the local governments have scant resources,” he added.

ACT also pointed out another incident on the first day of face-to-face classes that DepEd should take note of.

On Monday, the presence of armed forces in a classroom in Pangasinan was denounced by ACT — noting that such should not be allowed because it can be “traumatic to students.”

ACT said that DepEd and the local government of Alaminos, Pangasinan issued “contradicting statements” regarding the presence of armed cops in Longos Elementary School.

DepEd said that the agency that those were security escorts of the visiting LGU officials while the municipal mayor released a statement indicating that those were requested by the school to secure visiting VIPs such as the officials of DepEd and the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

Basilio said that the concerned parties have been “pointing fingers instead of owning accountability” to this mishap.

“Nobody has explained why armed police officers were handing out learning materials to young pupils if they were merely supposed to be there to provide security to VIPs,” Basilio said.

“They should not have been permitted inside school premises in the first place,” he added.