‘Not practical’: Group urges DepEd to rethink face-to-face classes this School Year
While it supports the gradual resumption of limited face-to-face classes, a group of teachers said that it would “not be practical” to hold in-person sessions at this time since the current school year is almost at its end.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a 30,000-strong group, said that it would be better if the Department of Education (DepEd) would reconsider the implementation of face-to-face classes this school year.
“Mainam po na nagpapalano na tayo at this early para sa face to face classes, pero sa tingin ko hindi naman praktikal na ipagpilitan pa ito ng DepEd ngayon dahil malapit na rin ang 4th quarter (It’s good that we’re already planning this early for face to face classes, but I don’t think it’s practical for DepEd to insist on this now because the 4th quarter is also near),” TDC Chair Benjo Basas said.
In-person classes were suspended in Philippine schools since March 2020 due to the threat of Covid-19.
In 2021, DepEd was finally allowed to hold a pilot study on limited face-to-face classes in 120 schools offering basic education. The pilot schools, which were located in low-risk areas, started conducting face-to-face classes from November to December last year.
This year, DepEd is implementing a progressive expansion of limited face-to-face classes. There are over 10,000 public and private schools nationwide that are currently holding in-person classes.
For TDC, the resumption of face-to-face classes at this point would only put the schools and the DepEd personnel in a tight spot.
“Nagkukumahog tuloy yung mga tao sa field kung paano mag-comply sa requirements (The people in the field are scrambling to comply with the requirements),” Basas said.
Before schools are allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes, they have to undergo an assessment by the Department of Health (DOH).
Participating schools also need to comply with the requirements set by DepEd as stated in its School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT).
Schools also need to get the approval of their respective local government units (LGUs); secure the written consent of parents allowing their children to participate in the limited face-to-face classes, and they have to ensure that their facilities are ready for in-person learning.
However, Basas said that some schools may have difficulties in complying with the requirements for resumption of limited face-to-face classes.
“Hindi naman simple ang kailangang paghahanda para matiyak na ligtas ang mga guro at mga bata sa pagbabalik-eskwela (The preparation is not simple to ensure that teachers and children are safe when they return to school),” he explained.
Given this, TDC is urging DepEd to hold consultations with teachers and personnel in the field.
“Siguro dapat gawin ng DepEd ay makikipagkonsultahan sa mga guro at kuhanin ang aming sentimyento at opinyon (Maybe, what DepEd should do is consult with teachers and get our sentiment and opinion),” Basas said.