DepEd readies for opening of classes, prepares learning continuity plan

TACLOBAN CITY, May 15 (PIA) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 8 has started preparing for the opening of classes for School Year 2020-2021 come August 24, this year.

During the Suruswerte ha PIA radio program Thursday hosted by Regional Director Olive Tiu, Leyte Schools Division Superintendent, Manuel Albaño said that DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones has already presented the Learning Continuity Plan to the National Inter-Agency Task Force for COVID-19.

Said plan, he said, will be the basis for the local plans to be adopted by the different divisions, with consideration to its applicability in the field.

“Secretary Briones has already presented the Learning Continuity Plan to the National Inter-Agency Task Force for COVID-19, and after series of consultations, opening of classes has been finally set on August 24, 2020, though preparations as to what modalities to be used are still underway,” Albaño said.

He added that according to law, start of classes for the school year should not be earlier than the first Monday of June and not later than the last day of August.

Albaño also said that alternative strategies or teaching methods to be implemented will be considered while health threat is still being experienced. Distance learning has been identified as one of the modalities, while studying the most essential learning competencies.

“We will still make contextualized learning continuity plans as different strategies will be used depending on the situation of a certain area. Every district will assess the scenario in its areas,” the Leyte DepEd offcial said.

“If no threat in the area, there will be face-to-face classes which means that students will have to go to school but with limited number of students per class at 15 to 20 in each class, so as to observe social distancing. In cases where there are more pupils, shifting of classes is encouraged, “ he added.

Supt. Albaño also explained that in places where it is impossible for students to go to school, education must still continue using the blended learning strategies and some platforms such as radio stations, print materials and online learning through the use of internet.

“We will still finalize all these so as to fit the needs of the different districts.  While the implementation is not uniform depending on the status of the area, the curriculum is still the same, only the mode of delivery differs,” he said.

According to Albano, the paradigm shift from the usual practice to the new normal mode is very challenging especially in Leyte, which is the biggest division in the region, with 80 districts composed of some 366,000 learners and   more than 17,000 teachers.

At present, the DepEd has already made initial steps. Teachers were already advised to report on June 1 and to undergo capacity building.

“For those who cannot report to school due to COVID threat, they can work from home especially those who are immunocompromised. We are still waiting for the guidelines from the central office as to alternative work arrangements, of which guidelines are expected to be out before June 1,” he said.

The education office is also in the process of checking school documents to ensure accuracy of data, as closing of classes was not finalized due to the health issue.

Leyte Schools Superintendent Manuel Albaño reminded teachers to observe precautionary measures and refrain from posting fake news in their facebook pages, to avoid facing negative consequences. He likewise advised them not to discriminate people in areas where COVID-19 patients have been noted. (ldl/gtt/PIA Leyte)

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