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Bacolod: 5 towns ready for F2F classes

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Bacolod City – Five of 31 local government units in Negros Occidental are ready for face-to-face classes, declared Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Marsette Sabbaluca.

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These are municipalities of EB Magalona, Valladolid, Toboso, Pontevedra and Don Salvador Benedicto, Sabbaluca said.

This month of July, we are targeting that all schools should comply with Schools Safety Assessment Tool to ensure the safety of students upon returning to schools by August 22, the DepEd official said.

Sabbaluca also reported that that 252 of the 581 public elementary schools, and 10 of the 117 private schools, equivalent to 48 percent of schools under the supervision of the Department of Education Negros Occidental, are ready for in-person learning.

That data excludes those under the Bacolod City Schools Division.

The Department of Education set August 22 as the start of school year 2022-2023 that will end July 7 next year, and the face-to-face classes are to start November 2, according to Department of Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte.

Sabbaluca, who met with Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ernell Tumimbang on July 12 at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City, said they are targeting to have 5-days face-to-face classes on Nov. 2, adding also that the evaluation of other schools is still ongoing as of this time.

The Negros Occidental Provincial School Boards also earmarked P30 million for the repair of damaged schools, which Sabbaluca said is not enough.

She added that school heads will find a way to look for a place where students can have temporary shelter while attending face-to-face classes.

Sabbaluca said they are also grateful for the assistance provided by all stakeholders, especially the mayors and other local government officials, as well as Parent-Teacher Associations, in the repair of schools and classrooms damaged by Typhoon Odette last year.

As stipulated in the SSAT, she said unvaccinated students are allowed to go to school for on-site learning, although their respective parents were encouraged to have them inoculated, which provides additional safety for them as well as their classmates.

With regard to physical arrangement, SSAT requires the establishment of triage areas at the schools’ entrance to check the temperature of learners, wearing of face masks, ensure restriction of movement of students inside the classrooms, and distancing of school desks by one meter apart, Sabbaluca said.

There should be also contingency plans in case a student experiences COVID-19 symptoms, she added. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star, photo courtesy of Sunstar)

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