Seven schools in Puerto Princesa have been nominated by the city Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Division Office (SDO) to be included in the nationwide pilot test that will determine whether schools can hold face-to-face classes amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

These schools were identified to be in low-risk areas, mostly located in rural barangays and in far-flung sitios.

Puerto Princesa SDO spokesperson Gina Francisco said in an interview Thursday that the division is waiting for the approval of seven nominated public schools to undergo the nationwide pilot test recommended by the DepEd.

“Baka by this week may feedback na kami. Malapit na rin kasi ang January, kaya for sure malalaman natin kung mapipili ang mga schools na iyon,” Francisco said.

The seven schools are as follows:

1. Cabayugan Elementary School – Sugod Annex (Barangay Cabayugan)
2. Concepcion Elementary School – Tagnaya Annex (Barangay Concepcion)
3. Kayasan Elementary School (Barangay Tagabinet)
4. Labtay Elementary School – Pag-asa Annex (Barangay Napsan)
5. Manggapin Elementary School (Barangay Langogan)
6. Sto. Niño Elementary School (Barangay Napsan)
7. Tanabag Elementary School (Barangay Tanabag)

The Tagnaya Annex of Concepcion Elementary School is also an indigenous peoples’ (IP) school, particularly of the Batak tribe.

Face-to-face learning for disadvantaged children, such as IPs, special needs students, and students in remote areas, has been pushed by proponents because of both students’ and teachers’ difficulties in providing their learning needs.

Schools for special-needs children in the city were not included in the nomination because they were not located in areas considered as “low risk.”

“Mayroon lang dalawang schools dito sa city for deaf students, ‘yong sa Sicsican at saka ‘yong sa [Puerto Princesa] Pilot [Elementary School], kaso hindi sila nag-qualify dahil hindi sila nasa low-risk area,” said Francisco.

On Monday, Malacañang stated that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the DepEd’s proposal of a “trial run” or pilot test that will take place in select schools situated in areas deemed “low risk” for COVID-19. DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said Wednesday that 1,114 out of an estimated 61,000 schools nationwide were nominated by regional offices for the pilot test in January 2021.

Meanwhile, the Palawan Provincial SDO has yet to give a statement on which schools in the municipalities have been nominated for the scheduled pilot tests.