DepEd launches activities online
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - June 3, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Department of Education (DepEd) in Central Visayas launched virtually the Regional Brigada Eskwela and Oplan Balik Eskwela, the annual activities held in preparation for the opening of classes.

These two activities have been reconfigured owing to COVID-19 pandemic.

Both activities, which were supposed to take place last May, are now conducted from June 1 to August 29, 2020.

Under the new Brigada Eskwela, DepEd-7 Regional Director Salustiano Jimenez said, DepEd and schools would engage with partners in raising the availability of necessary items for the school populace.

The items include thermal scanners, hygiene kits with hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, germicidal soap, surgical or washable masks, face shields and protective gloves, multivitamins, and learning delivery options like television, smart gadgets and connectivity.

The traditional concept of Brigada Eskwela includes physical cleaning, painting, repainting and repairing of school facilities and buildings. The activity usually involves parents, students, teachers and volunteers.

“No volunteer with COVID-19 symptoms like fever, dry cough and colds shall be allowed to participate in Brigada Eskwela,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez added that school’s maintenance week, which includes cleaning, beautification, landscaping, electrical works and installation and other activities may still be done two weeks before the opening of classes in public schools, depending on the prevailing enhanced community quarantine/general community quarantine situation.

For Oplan Balik Eskwela, DepEd-7 Assistant Regional Director Cristito Eco said that enrollment for school year 2020-2021 shall be administered remotely.

Physical enrollment in schools or other similar activity shall be highly discouraged, even in low risk areas, he said.

“No face-to-face classes will be allowed earlier than August 24, 2020. From August 24, face-to-face learning shall only be allowed when the local risk severity grading permits, and subject to compliance with minimum health standards,” he said.

Eco said school opening will not necessarily mean traditional face-to-face learning in classrooms.

He added that the physical opening of schools will depend on the risk severity grading or classification of a locality, pursuant to the guidelines of the Department of Health, Inter-Agency Task Force and the Office of the President.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, in her Memorandum 53, said that this year’s theme for both activities is “Pagpapanatili ng Bayanihan Tungo sa Kalidad na Edukasyon para sa Kabataan” and the slogan is “Bayanihan sa Paaralan” with an aim of promoting sustainable and safe living and highlighting the application of knowledge and convergence of efforts to address the required health standards and social issues at home, in school, and in the community in the context of COVID-19.

“The new concept of Brigada Eskwela shall focus on preparations and strengthening partnership engagement to ensure that learning continues even in the time of COVID-19,” Briones also said in her memo.

For Oplan Balik Eskwela, Briones added that DepEd shall set up a Public Assistance Command Center at the central office, with counterparts at its regional and schools division offices through its Public Affairs Unit.

“Oplan Balik Eskwela will continue to address frequently asked questions by parents and learners in relation to enrollment, attendance, and other relevant DepEd policies, rules and regulations on class opening,” the memo further reads.

End of school year is slated on April 30, 2020.  KQD (FREEMAN)

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