BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
President Rodrigo Duterte’s order moving the opening of classes to October 5 was welcomed by local officials yesterday, who said it would give the Department of Education more time to prepare for the new blended learning mode of teaching amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) health crisis.
Blended learning is a combination of online distance learning and in-person delivery of education materials to the homes of learners due to the pandemic.
The president had said earlier he would only permit face-to-face classes once a Covid-19 vaccine is developed.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said “that gives more time to iron out the (blended earning) kinks experienced during the dry run.”
Dr. Ma. Gemma Ledesma, DepEd Western Visayas regional director, said the decision of the president is good for the safety of everybody, and it will enable the DepEd to be better prepared for the opening of classes.
She noted the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
The delay in the opening of classes will also give them enough time to disinfect schools being used as COVID-19 quarantine facilities, she added.
“Dearest DepEd Bacolod City family. Big Thanks for this! PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) and SLMB (Secretary Leonor Magtulis Briones) did hear our regional ManCom recommendation to move the opening of classes to October 5, 2020. So, let’s relax for a moment. Re-adjust our timelines…Change can really happen anytime. Let’s stay faithful, good, agile, smart, healthier and stronger”, DepEd Bacolod OIC Schools Division Superintendent Gladys Amylaine Sales also said in a message sent out to principals in the city yesterday.
A memorandum issued by Malacañang yesterday, ten days before the scheduled opening of classes, said the president approved the DepEd recommendation to reschedule the opening of classes.
“Please be informed that pursuant to the instructions of President Rodrigo RoaDuterte, and as recommended by the DepEd, the opening of classes is deferred to 05 October 2020,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said in a memorandum issued in behalf of the president.
Republic Act 11480 allows the president to set a different date for the start of the school year in the country during a state of emergency or state of calamity, he said.
The Palace memorandum directs DepEd to ensure that all preparations have been made for the “smooth and successful” virtual opening of classes for Academic Year 2020-2021.
In a statement yesterday, Briones said, “We will use the deferment to provide relief to the logistical limitations faced by the areas placed under MECQ and to fill in the remaining gaps of the school opening that we are currently addressing.”
“We trust that this is the final adjustment of the school opening,” she said.
The DepEd will use this time to make the necessary adjustments and ensure that all preparations have been made for the successful opening of classes for school year 2020-2021, she added.*