November 16, 2021 – The Schools Division Office (SDO) of Zambales in Region 3 showcased last Tuesday the collaborations they established with involved local government units (LGUs) and communities in preparation for the pilot face-to-face classes this week.

During the virtual EduAksyon press briefing, SDO Zambales School District Superintendent Romeo Alip shared that LGUs and IP communities of the ten participating schools are fully supportive of the pilot run.

San Marcelino National High School (NHS) Annex and Baliwet Elementary School (ES) in San Marcelino, Banawen ES in San Felipe, and Belbel ES, Burgos ES, Burgos ES, Maguisguis ES, Moraza ES, Nacolcol Integrated School (IS), Owaog  Nebloc ES, and Palis IS are set to welcome back learners for limited face-to-face classes starting November 15.

“With the eventual pilot implementation of face-to-face classes, it is encouraging to see the harmonious collaboration between the schools, LGUs, and the communities. With our continuous hard work and dedication, it will not be long when all our learners can safely set foot in their schools once again,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

In terms of concurrence with the Local Government Units (LGUs), a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was made by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), provincial government, the municipal government concerned, and the community expressing their full support for the pilot implementation of the face-to-face classes.

In the MOA, the provincial government will provide free rapid antigen tests and RT-PCR for teachers every two weeks as a requirement and will be assisting in full capacity for logistic concerns, security, and health. The governor and mayors also pledged additional learning facilitators to ensure learning continuity in case teachers need to be quarantined or isolated.

According to SDS Alip, LGUs will provide necessary augmentation for food and supplies of teachers who opted to stay in school for the duration of the implementation. The LGUs also expressed their support through the provision of health-related supplies and some learning materials.

Meanwhile, SDO Zambales provided orientations and technical assistance to concerned school heads and teachers regarding class programming and scheduling. All classes are onsite or face-to-face in the morning and printed modular in the afternoon.

In addition, the schools have procured health-related materials, using the downloaded support funds from DepEd and program support funds for Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) and other sources.

For the physical preparations, the schools assured the availability of functional wash areas and a designated area for triage. They also posted markings and signages in the local dialect, which is Zambal, to ensure adherence to health protocols such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and proper hand sanitation.

“Instead of marking the chairs with X, some schools opted to put the exact number of chairs, also to avoid confusion among learners. There are designated areas to serve as isolation areas and school clinics,” SDS Alip noted.