(PN file photo)

The Department of Education (DepEd) will inspect 41 schools in different municipalities of Palawan, following a recommendation by the Schools Division Office (SDO) in the province to return to limited face-to-face learning.

Schools Division Superintendent Roger Capa said a team from the regional office led by Regional Director Nicolas Capulong will arrive next week to conduct validation and inspection. He added that Capulong would have the final say on which schools passed the assessment.

“Nakatakdang dumating ang ating regional director at regional monitoring team upang bisitahin ang ating mga paaralan kasama sa listahan ng mga mag-ooffer ng limited face-to-face [classes]. Titingnan nila ang kahandaan ng mga ito. Kapag natapos ang evaluation, aaprubahan kung pasado ba kay [regional] director at kung puwede bang magsimula na tayo ng face-to-face,” Capa said during a press conference on Thursday.

“41 na paaralan ang ating isinumite, 31 na pampublikong paaralan at 10 pribadong paaralan. Tayo lang ata sa MIMAROPA ang may pinakamaraming mga pribadong paaralan na isinama at hinikayat na sumali sa limited face-to-face,” he added.

Among the 31 public schools, 15 are secondary schools and 16 are elementary schools. Officials also said the number may increase if the regional validation team decides to visit other schools.

Other SDO officials also explained that once face-to-face classes resume, both students and teachers will have to follow minimum health standards such as wearing face masks, while classroom capacity will be reduced to ensure social distancing. There will also be designated entrance and exit points, open classroom windows to ensure proper ventilation, and handwashing stations will have running water at all times.

Vaccination is not mandatory for students but is encouraged by the SDO.

Lastly, students need parental consent to be able to attend face-to-face learning.

IP schools not yet ready for face-to-face learning

Despite being one of the sectors that struggle most with distance learning, schools for indigenous students were not selected to be part of the validation. According to Capa, the SDO cited health considerations, though not specified, as the reason why they were not considered.

“’Yong mga IP schools natin ay kasama sa modular at sa RBI (radio-based instruction). Considering the health condition of the IPs, wala pa kaming school na identified for face-to-face learning, dahil we consider the environment and health ng mga kabataan, including the parents. Ihahanda pa natin ang mga IPs for face-to-face,” Capa said.

Officials added they considered one IP school for validation, but was destroyed by Typhoon “Odette” and is currently undergoing repairs.