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Teachers’ group calls for urgent requisites for safe face-to-face classes

/ 03:39 PM July 06, 2022
in-person face-to-face classes

The Department of Education (DepEd) is eyeing the easing of requirements for the implementation of in-person classes as Metro Manila and other areas shift to a “new normal.” (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIC C. MONTEGRANDE)

MANILA, Philippines — Urgent requisites, such as employment of more teachers, must be met first to ensure the safe conduct of full face-to-face classes, a group of teachers said on Wednesday.

The remark of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines came after Malacañang and the Department of Education (DepEd) announced full face-to-face classes by November.

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READ: Bongbong Marcos: VP Sara Duterte eyes 100% in-person classes by November

“It would be hard for students, teachers and parents to all go to school and encounter another surge of COVID-19, so we need to be careful and prepared,” ACT Philippines chairperson Vladimer Quetua said in a statement.

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Citing a survey from the Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality, and Relevant (SEQuRe) Education, the group said that the administration has a “long way to go” should it fully open schools for in-person classes.

“According to the SEQuRe survey, government funding and support were ‘insufficient’ which compelled 59 to 83 percent of teacher-respondents to ‘spend out-of-pocket to prepare schools and classrooms for safe reopening, while some important safety measures were still not sufficiently installed’,” Quetua said.

To address such issues, the group provided the following requisites to conduct safe and full face-to-face classes:

Double school maintenance and operating budget for proper and adequate ventilation/air flow of classrooms, sufficient hand-washing facilities and water supply, operational clinic with adequate supplies and equipment, and ample health and sanitation supplies and enforcement of health protocols

  • Employ additional teachers to be able to implement the ideal class size maximum of 35 students
  • Employ nurses and utility personnel for every school
  • Ensure the health protection and benefits of teachers and non-teaching staff, which includes: Free medical check-up and treatment, 15-day sick leave for teachers, additional compensation for teaching overload and non-teaching duties for teachers, as well as overtime for teachers and employees, and timely and just payment of Special Hardship Allowance for teachers
  • Aid for struggling families in the midst of the economic crisis
  • Conduct a learning assessment of students all over the country to guide the curriculum adjustments for the education recovery program

“These are some of the requisites for a safe back-to-school program this year because we need to address the ‘old normal’ problems to enable a safe 100% school reopening,” Quetua said.

Meanwhile, the DepEd has allotted P1 billion for public schools to acquire televisions, speakers, laptops, and other equipment needed to support blended learning in the expansion phase.

Also, a total of P5 billion had been distributed to the regions for the funds of learning sources, said Annalyn Sevilla, DepEd undersecretary for finance, in an earlier press conference. – Xander Dave Ceballos, INQUIRER.net intern

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TAGS: ACT, classes, Education, face-to-face, Teachers
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