[UPDATED] The city council is backing the Department of Education’s plan to allow face-to-face classes in 14 Puerto Princesa City schools.

According to city DepEd Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Loida Adornado, these schools expressed their intent to resume face-to-face learning, but with safety protocols in place. These schools are also located in minimal-risk areas for COVID-19, have passed the DepEd’s School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT). Students are not required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but their parents are required to consent to having their children do face-to-face learning.

“First of all, they wrote a letter of intent. Interesado sila, they have the confidence na okay na ang kanilang schools, very much prepared. Second qualifier is hindi naman sila kasali sa mga naapektuhan ng bagyo,” Adornado said in an interview.

The council approved a resolution on Monday expressing non-objection to the city DepEd’s request. Adornado said during the presentation the council’s endorsement is one of the steps they need to secure before the national DepEd allows the selected schools to return to face-to-face learning. The regional DepEd will also be going around the selected schools next week to assess their readiness, Adornado added.

“First and foremost, kailangan ng physical requirement ang kanilang classrooms, merong traffic management na iba dapat ang entrance at exit, na they will not congest. Kailangan din compliant sa distancing para sa chairs,” she added.

The schools slated for limited are as follows:

  1. Gregorio Oquendo Memorial Elementary School (ES)
  2. Matahimik Bucana National High School (NHS)
  3. Babuyan NHS
  4. Labtay ES
  5. Simpokan ES
  6. Simpucan NHS
  7. Baruang ES
  8. Lucbuan ES
  9. Macarascas ES
  10. Cabayugan ES
  11. Makandring ES
  12. Manggapin ES
  13. Marufinas ES
  14. New Panggangan ES

The schools are also required to have a contingency plan in case a student tests positive for COVID-19. Adornado stated that schools are required to comply with standard contact tracing protocols.

“Standard ang contingency plan. Kunwari mayroong student na nilalagnat, kailangan mayroong isolation room at kung puwede ay pauwiin na. At masusunod ang sa contact tracing, kung sino ang nakatabi niya, pero mayroon naman kasing social distancing sa classrooms,” Adornado added.

During the Schools Division Office’s (SDO) presentation to the city council, Adornado and Assistant SDS Marites Perez explained the aim of bringing back face-to-face learning. Perez stated that two years of distance learning has been proven to be detrimental to students in the long run, such as negatively affecting their mental health and learning abilities.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.