In a statement, Mayor Joy Belmonte said the local government is looking at various means to ensure that the learning process will not be interrupted while keeping Kinder to Grade 12 students safe from the dreaded virus.
“Nais nating matiyak ang kaligtasan ng ating mga estudyante nang hindi naantala ang kanilang pag-aaral at ang paghahanda na ating isinasagawa ay para sa lahat ng posibleng senaryo ” said Belmonte.
The City’s localized Learning Continuity Plan (LCP) and interventions were anchored on a survey conducted by the City’s Schools Division Office among 65,283 students from various academic levels. Data revealed that 48,769 or 74.6 percent of those surveyed prefer face-to-face classes while the remaining 25.4 percent prefer a blended system of learning of either online or modular. Many of the students also indicated in the said survey that they have limited access to electronic devices and internet connection.
Belmonte said that based on the survey, the city government will be using a combination of various alternative learning options for the approaching school year, which is scheduled to start on Aug. 24 as announced by the Department of Education.
She added that the city government plans to use the modular system for kinder to Grade 6 where printed learning modules will be provided to the students and distributed to them through identified learning hubs, while electronic devices preloaded with modules will be provided for higher levels reducing the need for internet, as this is a common concern among teachers, parents and the students.
“A more detailed school-based mapping will be conducted to identify the most appropriate learning modality considering the context of the students and the other stakeholders,” she said.
Following the memorandum issued by the Department, Aly Medalla, Education Affairs Head said that instead of the usual Brigada Eskuwela before the start of classes, the city will prepare its educational system for the new normal by realigning funds for the purchase of learning tools and electronic gadgets that will be assigned to students and teachers.
“This will be a two-way change for both students and teachers because not all of them have Internet or gadgets that are suitable for online education,” Medalla pointed out.
The City has also begun engaging with major telecommunication companies to join forces and provide the majority of its students affordable and more widely accessible internet service if the need arises.
The resumption of face-to-face classes shall take into consideration the local risk-severity projections issued by the Department of Health and Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
President Duterte earlier discouraged face-to-face classes until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found.
Thus, while face to face classes are suspended, the City in partnership with the Schools Division Office is starting to prepare school facilities and implement preemptive measures that shall facilitate the safe return of the students and personnel to the schools, should the conditions stated by the President be met.
Among them include reducing the number of students to 15 in a classroom, ensuring physical distancing by using markers, and the provision of face masks and hygiene kits to all students. This also includes constant health checks as well as the continuous upgrading of wash facilities and school clinics.
Quezon City has a population of 432,667 enrolled in the public school system with about 15,423 teaching and non-teaching personnel. (PAISD QC/PIA-NCR)
By Susan G. De Leon