With the forthcoming implementation of limited face-to-face classes in select low-risk areas in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Health (DOH) are working hand-in-hand in crafting the operational guideline and mechanism to ensure health protection of schoolchildren and parents, teachers, and non-teaching staff.
The DepEd and DOH guideline includes the proven anti-COVID strategy of Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate.
Also paramount are water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities, proper ventilation in every classroom, seating layouts for physical distancing among the pupils, management of foot traffic, and conduct of simulation activities prior to implementation of the face-to-face pilot activities, among others.
Under the pilot implementation, some 120 schools across the country were already identified, prioritizing Key Stage 1 learners (Kinder to Grade 3) as assessed by DepEd and the respective local government units.
Here in Ilocos Norte, DepEd insiders said several public schools have already been identified for a possible pilot run of face-to-face learning.
Probably, these qualified schools for the frontal classes are situated in the upland remote towns of Ilocos Norte where COVID cases were reportedly few in number since the pandemic outbreak.
As this developed, we expect all parents and guardians to rejoice when their children finally go back to school after these kids got bored and passive in the four corners of their homes for almost two years owing to the contagion.
As COVID cases had nosedived lately, we hope for the fast pursuit of new normal in the very near future when health experts would ultimately discard the face masks and face shields into oblivion or declare them as things of the past.
However, the DOH, DepEd, LGUs, and other sectors remain vigilant as viruses are treacherous that afflict the unguarded victims. Their reoccurrence is unpredictable. No one can predict any worst eventuality except for the Supreme Healer above. (IS)