Visayas schools ready for in-person classes
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines — About 4.9 million students in the Visayas are expected to troop to the different schools on Monday (Aug. 22) for the start of in-person classes.
Based on the records of the Department of Education (DepEd), 2.2 million enrollees for the academic year 2022 to 2023 were from Western Visayas, followed by Central Visayas with 1.6 million and Eastern Visayas with 1.1 million.
Jasmin Calzita, the information officer of DepEd-Eastern Visayas, called on students, teachers and parents to strictly observe the health protocols to protect themselves from COVID-19.
All were encouraged to bring their own alcohol or hand sanitizer, wear their face masks all the time and to go out of their classrooms only to eat lunch.
To avoid overcrowding, students were divided into two groups. One group will report every Monday and Tuesday while the remaining group will attend in-person classes every Wednesday and Thursday.
In Maasin City, Southern Leyte province, schools that were damaged or destroyed by Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai) in December 2021 would hold classes in tents provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund and Plan International.
The Eastern Visayas police would deploy 2,984 policemen and 11,913 force multipliers in all the 3,543 schools in the region on Monday, said Lt. Col. Ma. Bella Rentuaya, the regional police information officer.
In Western Visayas, Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco, chief of the regional police, assured the public that policemen were ready to ensure peace and order starting on Monday.
“I already gave instructions to all unit commanders to ensure that everyone is safe and the resumption of [in-person] classes is peaceful,” he said.
Policemen in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental, and the highly urbanized cities of Iloilo and Bacolod would be deployed in identified strategic areas such as schools, transportation hubs and main streets.
“There will be established police assistance desks, mobile, foot and detective patrollers in these areas,” he said.
In Central Visayas, teachers and parents worked together to prepare the schools for the opening of classes.
Dr. Salustiano Jimenez, DepEd director in the region, said they coordinated with the local governments and other nongovernmental organizations to ensure the safety of teachers, students and parents.
He said some of the schools in the region lack classrooms but these were ready to accommodate students.
“We instructed our schools and our division offices to have some strategies like shifting of students [to address the shortage of classrooms],” he said in a media interview.
Many schools in the region had to be fixed due to the damage caused by Odette, which cost the DepEd P1 billion, said Jimenez.
—REPORTS FROM JOEY GABIETA, JOEY MARZAN AND ADOR VINCENT MAYOL
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