No health hitches in Zamboanga City in-person classes
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines — No health hitches have been reported among students attending in-person classes that opened last March 4 in 119 schools in this city.
There are 16,087 students from kindergarten to senior high school attending the in-person classes, according to Rosalio Conturno Jr., chief of school governance and operations of the City Division of Schools.
“Learners have started reporting to schools and we are happy to announce that since the start of their face-to-face classes, we hadn’t received a report of learners getting ill or having fever. It’s a good sign for all of us,” Conturno told the Inquirer.
On Feb. 28, the National Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the city’s Alert Level 1 status which immediately took effect on March 1.
“We started opening the schools, especially small schools located in far-flung areas with a small number of enrolled learners,” Conturno said.
He said they were currently assessing the progress of learners in the 119 schools that already hold physical classes.
“Hopefully, we can increase the number of learners soon,” he said.
But he explained that the number of hours that these learners spent in school had greatly been reduced.
Kindergarten pupils only spend three hours at most inside the classroom, which only accommodates 12 pupils at any given time. Pupils in Grade 1 to Grade 12 are required to attend 4 to 4.5 hours in class, where only 20 students are allowed.
“If a class has over 40 learners, those learners are not allowed to report daily, but three times in a week, by shift. The first 20 will take the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while the other half, will report on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays,” Conturno said.
He added that their attendance would be based on the approval of the parents.
School authorities also do not require students to be fully vaccinated before joining in-person classes.
“In case learners who are not vaccinated want to attend the face-to-face [classes], we also accommodate them,” Conturno said.
Cacao Elementary School in Barangay Cacao, which is some 22 kilometers away from the main town center, already allows all of its pupils to report every day.
“We are already implementing a hundred percent attendance,” said Jane Marie Adlawn Anasco, a school principal. “But we do it by shift: 50 percent in the morning and another 50 percent in the afternoon.”
Anasco said school teachers were worried at first that some parents might resist the holding of face-to-face classes while the COVID-19 pandemic was still around.
“Surprisingly, they are very supportive. Our students are excited to come to school every day. They come early, and their excitement also inspires us,” she said.
Cacao Elementary School has a total of 184 students with eight teachers, including the principal.
Anasco said parents, regardless of grade level, bring their kids to school.
“We don’t allow them inside the school premises, but they patiently wait outside to fetch their kids. So far, since we started the classes last March 1, we have never encountered learners getting sick, not even coughing,” she said.
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