(MNS Photo)

MANILA, June 22 (Mabuhay) — Most schools nationwide are doubling efforts to prepare for the start of blended learning set up in August, of which over 80 percent of public schools and 12 percent of private schools have qualified for progressive face-to-face classes, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).

Joan dela Providencia, 26, a private school elementary teacher, said they have been preparing carefully to ensure safe spaces for learners.

“Nag-conduct seminar sa school for safety protocols inside the classroom, sumunod din kami sa mga requirement ng LGU at Deped (We’ve conducted a seminar for safety protocols inside the classroom, we also adhered to the requirement set by the LGU [local government unit] and DepEd),” she told the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday.

As a new teacher, Dela Providencia said she prefers in-person learning as it provides real-time learning and interaction among learners.

“Kapag face-to-face, kapag sabing pass the paper pasa na sila agad. Unlike ngayon online minsan naiipunan ng ipapasa ang mga bata kaya di napapasa on time (When it’s face-to-face, if the teacher says, ‘Pass the paper,’ they will immediately pass it. Unlike in the online setup, sometimes the due for submissions of kids are piling up, and [there are some] who can’t pass it on time,” she said.

The DepEd assured the public on Monday that it is intensifying actions to prepare schools for transitioning to the new normal setup, about the blended learning where in-person setup and online classes will be scheduled to utilize effective learning modalities.

In the Laging Handa public briefing, DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the implementation of progressive face-to-face classes nationwide will still push through in the upcoming school year if lenient alert levels will be maintained.

“As far as we know, the state of public health emergency ay hindi pa nali-lift (not yet lifted). I think it ends sometime in September. But those are the factors that will determine the full normalization of all activities. But, in alert level one, if the Department of Health as I have stated earlier ay already, is allowing the relaxation of physical distancing, then that also means that the other interactive activities that require proximity of among the learners ay maaaring mag-umpisa na rin iyan (may be started), in the next school year,” he said.

However, he says that contingencies are also in place, in adherence to protocols per alert level systems, if coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases increase.

“We have shown the resilience and the capability to cope with various contingencies, hindi lamang ito sa (not only for) COVID, but other even natural disasters. But so far, kung hindi magbabago itong alert level system na ito ay parang (this seems…) it really works, USec. Rocky, like our storm signal, dahil very definite na dito at alam na ng ating mga paaralan (our schools know) and protocols for each of these alert levels… So, of course, we are all hoping that itong continued improvement ay magpatuloy at hindi nga magkaroon ng rebound itong pagtaas ng (will continue and there will be no rebound in the heightening of) alert levels around that time,” he added.

As of June 16, a total of 37,694 public and private schools have been nominated for the progressive expansion of face-to-face classes.

While 32,787 public schools are already “participating and have actually started their face-to-face classes” according to the DepEd quick count. (MNS)

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