Lawmakers hesitant on schools’ reopening

Health risks are top concern with the planned reopening of schools on August 24. Despite the confidence of the Department of Education (DepEd), several lawmakers are hesitant given that COVID-19 cases are still on the rise.

In a hearing of the House Committee on Basic Education, Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan expressed that the DepEd is confident with the reopening of classes in the new normal with the application of their learning continuity plan.

The DepEd’s learning continuity plan seeks to ensure that students' learning progresses even amidst disasters such as natural calamities, such as the COVID-19 pandemic through innovative means of teaching and learning.

Rep. Christopher De Venecia said that the department should look into the challenges parents may face in the supervision of the distance learning to be implemented.

House Deputy Speaker Rep. Evelina Escudero in the hearing reported that teachers in her jurisdiction had reservations with the planned resumption of classes. According to Rep. Escudero, teachers are at the moment 50 percent ready for the August 24 reopening.

Dr. William Gando, DepEd Sorsogon City Schools Division Superintendent, in a separate statement said that teachers have been in training to better equip themselves to address the pressing needs in the new normal.

In President Duterte’s 14th address on the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines, he said that Php 700 million has been alloted for DepEd to procure internet connection for 7,000 public schools in the country. It can be recalled that the President said that face-to-face learning remains suspended until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

 

USec. Malaluan also reported that enrollment has been extended until July 15. Nationwide enrollment has reached close to 18 million, 35 percent less than last year’s 22.5 million according to data presented by the Undersecretary.

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