A remote school in Tabuk City in Kalinga is the sole learning institution in the region and one of the 100 participant schools approved to hold face-to-face classes under the Department of Education’s Ligtas na Balik-Eskwela practice last Monday.
The San Pablo Integrated School was designated by both DepEd and the Department of Health as among the 100 public and private schools in low risk areas all over the country that now hold limited face to face classes.
In March 10 the two agencies barred schools from conducting face to face classes and transitioned to distant learning set-up last October 5.
“San Pablo Integrated School is ready,” said school Head Teacher Concepcion Olya-on during the face-to-face phase dry run.
She noted that the school has worked on preparing the school to accommodate students including the set-up of handwashing facilities, water system, and procurement of personal protective equipment or PPEs, comfort rooms, and classroom set-up to accommodate a sufficient number of students in collaboration with the parents and the community.
Meanwhile, the City Health Office (CHO), Barangay Midwife, and District Nurse, San Pablo also developed isolation units to deal with unforeseen cases [infections] and triage for swabbing.
Located in barangay Lacnog West. the school is one of Tabuk City, Kalinga’s most remote schools. The school has a population of 157 students and 11 educators. Each year-level must adhere to a 50-50 split of class attendance on any given day.
Teachers also communicate with parents and students frequently during home guidance and classrooms to remind them of the health protocols and to instill in the students the necessity of following them.
Students are also given the option whether to stay on a distance learning system or not, with the help of their parents and guardians.
In a report, the Public Information Office of Tabuk said that all parents “agreed to allow their children to participate in face-to-face schooling.”
The report added that this “demonstrates the community’s willingness to persevere in the face of the pandemic.”
The report further said that the school principal and the students “were also ecstatic because they were the first to alert their head teacher of the good news, even before she was told. Students asked whether they may wear their uniforms, but Monday was merely a practice run, so actual classes will only be decided after a formal heads-up from the DepEd Office.”
The Tabuk City School Division Office, meanwhile, has purchased PhP75,000 worth of PPEs for the school in preparation for the face-to-face learning, “since the latter would be provided to its students on a daily basis.”
The Tabuk local government, on the other hand, has set aside PhP172,000 worth of school materials to help the integrated school in its first year of serving Grade 7 pupils.
Olya-on thanked the city LGU for its assistance and similarly thanked the instructors “for making it possible to have a face-to-face classes at the school.”
“Welcome to San Pablo Integrated School, students. Thank you for thinking of us as a stepping stone to your future. Please follow the health regulations, such as wearing a facemask and washing your hands regularly, before entering the school. On behalf of the school, I would like to express my gratitude to the parents and community for your financial and emotional support,” an emotional Olya-on added.