July 24, 2020 – In order to further strengthen the role of parents and teachers as the education frontline amid COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) is conducting a series of Psychosocial Support and Training for parents, teachers, school heads and identified DepEd region and division non-teaching personnel as the opening of School Year 2020-2021 approaches.

For parents, the Department launched the ‘Gabay Bahay: An Online Parenting Series’ which is a weekly online learning activity that aims to engage with parents in protecting the health, safety and well-being of their children.

This is in line with the Department’s goal in protecting and fulfilling the rights of a child anchored on the Convention on the Rights of Children especially in times where community quarantine is currently imposed in the country.

With the emergence of the pandemic, the task to educate students has become more challenging because schools are temporarily halted and the DepEd saw that parents could be vital in fulfilling the learning continuity.

As implementing partners of the online parenting series, Save the Children prepared the modules being discussed in the sessions while Globe Telecom Inc. provides resource persons. This online activity started last July 15 and will air its last episode on August 19. It is streamed live every Wednesday, 4PM in DepEd Philippines Facebook Page.

For secondary teachers, school heads and identified DepEd region and division non-teaching personnel, online trainings on the provision of remote Psychological First Aid (PFA) for learners using the Supporting, Enabling and Empowering Students (SEES) Manual, supplemental online and self-guided PFA modules, and guidance notes have been launched on July 21, 2020 and is set to culminate on July 30, 2020.

“As we enter a new school year, our learners in the secondary level are about to make another series of adjustments that might become stressful for them. This public health emergency has disrupted their lives as much as it severely impacted ours,” Director Ronilda Co of DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Services (DRRMS).

The objective of the program is to prepare the teachers, identified DepEd non-teaching personnel and parents in monitoring themselves, look after their wellness and enable them to fulfill their respective duties and responsibilities in the education continuity.

The sessions are held through online streaming where participants are clustered by regional groups. Cluster 1 includes school heads of secondary schools and identified DepEd region and division non-teaching personnel from all regions. The remaining 5 clusters include secondary school teachers of all regions.

A training on Remote Psychosocial Support (PSS) through Play for Elementary Learners will also be conducted for elementary school teachers, school heads and identified DepEd division non-teaching personnel on August 3-6, 2020.

The training will revolve on how to utilize the Teacher’s Activity Guide on Psychosocial Support through Play developed by Unilab Foundation Inc through their Heads Up Project. Unilab Foundation Inc has been one of DepEd’s partner in providing PSS intervention to elementary learners affected by disasters since 2017.

The Bureau of Human Resource and Organizational Development (BHROD) Employee Welfare Division (EWD) and DRRMS with the assistance of the National Education Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) also provides psychosocial support and training on wellness to teachers and non-teaching personnel.

Putting priority on the promotion and protection of their mental health and general welfare in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the provisions of psychosocial support tackles on validating and normalizing feelings, identifying common and extreme stress reactions, identifying their current needs, and expressing their needs on others.

“It shall also guide the participants to practice positive coping strategies like setting up routines and work-from-home practices, arts-based coping strategies, and mindfulness meditation. DepEd personnel who are not reached by this session shall be provided with psychosocial support by the region or division through alternative means like phone calls or face-to-face subject to physical distancing measures and localized preventive measures,” DRRMS noted.

Delivered asynchronously online through learning playlists, wellness training consists of introductory course videos, livestreamed videos from Stronger from Home and Wellness Check, and discussion questions.

The Psychosocial Support and Training on Wellness will run until September 11 with topics that include self-care, intellectual and financial wellness, environmental wellness, social and vocational wellness and other dimensions of wellness which will be led by professionals in psychosocial support.