“It’s a semblance of a return to the old days.”
The resumption of in-person or face-to-face grade school classes all over the country is a milestone that marks a significant step towards normalcy or the “new normal.
It sure was exciting for parents to be allowed to take the children to the shopping malls now that all 17 regions are under Alert Level 2 especially this yuletide season.
But to see some kids back in the classroom setting brings a reassuring semblance of a return to our usual mode of daily living.
At least it is the case for thousands of students of 277 public and private schools, including 28 in the National Capital Region that began face-to-face sessions Monday December 6.
The 28 schools in Metro Manila accounts for some 2,000 students trooping back to the campuses while the figures on the students in other regions were not immediately made available by the Department of Education (DepEd).
The gargantuan number of 26.3 million primary and secondary students may have to continue online classes and wait a bit more till they meet their teachers in the flesh.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones is hoping more schools would resume in-person classes in the coming months amid improved pandemic conditions and the government’s massive vaccination drive, even as the Department of Health reportedly has not detected any case of Covid variant Omicron infection.
After almost two years of the pandemic, many people believe that restricting youngsters inside their homes for a long period of time may have done more harm to their well-being.
Child development experts and educators say the younger children in delicate formative years have missed their needed social inter-active learning, including playing with schoolmates and friends.
There is no sense suspending the holding of on-campus classes since kids, especially teenagers, can now freely go to the shopping malls and public parks.
Since curfew hours were lifted, kids have been loitering the streets and crowding internet joints even in wee hours, contributing to rising incidence of street crimes.
They are better off in school where they can be guided by trained teachers.
It will take the cooperation of parents, barangay and LGUs, to enable more schools to conduct in-person or face-to-face classes so the youngsters can get the quality education they deserve.
We only have to ensure that the highest standards of health and safety are observed in the campuses.
All teachers and school personnel must be fully vaccinated.
Antigen test kits should be readily available in case a student or school staff member exhibits any symptoms during the in-person classes.
Parents should be prohibited from entering the school premises and restricted to a holding area where they can pick up their kids after classes.
Barangay staff and members of the parent-teacher association volunteers should oversee the arrival and departure of students at school gates.
President Duterte approved in September the two-month pilot-testing of in-person classes in areas with low risk for COVID-19.
The DepEd launched the pilot-testing in November with in-person classes of students in kindergarten, Grades 1 to 3 and senior high schools selected based on their capability to carry out contingency plans in case of a COVID-19 infection.