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EDUCATION AMID THE PANDEMIC

Teachers in Sorsogon visit kids at home to fill gap in classroom learning

/ 04:31 AM September 15, 2021

READING CORNER Through the aid of picture and alphabet cards posted on a wall, a teacher guides her pupil in reading at a house in the village of Vinisitahan in Donsol, Sorsogon, as in-person classes remain suspended due to the pandemic. —PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN HABITAN HOMAN

When the new school year opened on Monday with the country still in the middle of the pandemic, teachers in a public school in the village of Vinisitahan in Donsol, Sorsogon, made sure that their students would still feel that they were learning inside the classroom even while at home.

Ryan Habitan Homan, principal of Vinisitahan Elementary School, said their teachers would go to the homes of their students to hold in-person classes exclusively for those in Kindergarten up to Grade 3.

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“We visit them in order to have a very good learning assessment and output since it is very hard for the pupils to read the modules and answer the activity sheets considering they are struggling readers,” Homan said.

He said this would ensure quality education, particularly to strengthen reading and comprehension skills among children, and to guarantee their safety from possible COVID-19 infection when sessions are held in a packed classroom.

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He said this daily “one-on-one tutorial” will be done in the house of a student or with a small group of pupils. Some classes, with a limited number of students, will be held in a designated learning center in the village.

Dedication

This type of interaction between teacher and pupil is not new to Vinisitahan. Homan said they came up with the program “Viniskwelahan sa Balay” last year to check the performance of every pupil, as the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country prompted the suspension of in-person classes.

“One of the positive [aspects] of this house-to-house classes is that the dedication of every educator is really measured. They don’t care about the hardship; they just want to be with their pupils. What is important is quality education must continue amid the situation,” Homan said.

Parents are grateful. “The initiative of the teachers to visit and conduct the lessons in every house is very commendable,” Arlene Militar said.

Support of every family in a community matters, Homan said.

He said the establishment of reading corners in every house was part of the program. Parents had been trained to guide their children in learning in the absence of teachers.

In Ticol Elementary School in Sorsogon City, teachers went out of their way to seek out students by distributing enrollment flyers even in remote subvillages (sitios).

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In Camarines Norte province, Aileen Felomina, who teaches English and Filipino to Grade 9 pupils in Mercedes High School in Mercedes town, will handle 33 students from three villages this year.

Orientation and distribution of modules in Mercedes were done per village ahead of the opening of classes to better observe health protocols.

Class sections in Mercedes High School were also reorganized so that those who live near each other are in one class. Felomina’s 33 students are from Barangays 4, 5 and 6.

“We can monitor them through online, by phone call and since I am from Barangay 5, even before, I have to do home visits. I just have to observe health protocols,” she said. “Through home visits, we can talk to the parents and the students.”

The Department of Education (DepEd) in Bicol on Monday said 1,552,077 children were enrolled in different public and private kindergarten, elementary and high schools across the region.

It said this year’s enrollment was 7 percent lower than the 1,667,388 student recorded last school year, prompting the agency to extend the enrollment period until Sept. 30.Earlier, Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero said he wanted limited face-to-face classes to be piloted in his province considering the zero COVID-19 cases in most villages.

Limited in-person classes

He said 55 percent of their barangays had been COVID-free since the start of the pandemic last year.

“Another reason why I would go for limited face-to-face classes because the mental health and social development of the children is very important,” Escudero said in a statement.

Jose Doncillo, Sorsogon schools division superintendent, said he was confident that the province could handle in-person classes this school year.

“Considering the data from the Provincial Health Office, we were able to identify the barangays with zero COVID cases and the protocols being implemented in schools since the pandemic broke out in March of 2020,” he said in a text message.

Doncillo said DepEd Sorsogon had identified 16 schools in the province that could pilot in-person classes.

—REPORTS FROM MICHAEL JAUCIAN, MAR S. ARGUELLES, REY ANTHONY OSTRIA AND MA. APRIL MIER-MANJARES

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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, distance education, online classes, Sorsogon teacher visits
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