Secretary Leonor Briones of the Department of Education said yesterday they will consider including Negros Oriental in the pilot testing areas for face-to-face classes in the near future.
Briones was speaking to DepEd officials and the media in a virtual presser via Zoom on updates regarding blended learning and other concerns in the education sector amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
She said the program was supposed to start this January but with the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant, President Rodrigo Duterte recalled his approval to hold pilot testing of face-to-face classes in selected areas.
She said that based on a report from DepEd Region 7 regional director, Salustiano Jimenez, Gov. Roel Degamo was reluctant on the idea of holding face-to-face classes due to the surge in Covid-19 cases in the province.
Some 118 schools in the province would have been considered for the pilot testing that is now suspended, but the local government unit of La Libertad has intimated its desire to participate in the pilot testing, Briones said.
“If they can comply with requirements, we will consider them, however, there are some requirements that must be met,” she said.
The considerations would include the approval of the LGU, certain requirements from the Department of Health, written parents’ consent for their children who will be attending face-to-face classes, transportation, and canteens that provide food for the students, Briones said.
The DepEd chief, who hails from Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, said they need to minimize the risk of students contracting Covid, noting that only very few children were infected with the novel coronavirus because of the agency’s policies.
The parents must be aware of the implications of this program if they would allow their children to attend the face-to-face classes, she said.
The President has not yet reconsidered the holding of pilot testing for face-to-face classes due to the threat of the new Covid variants, she added.
“But for sure, once the program will be implemented, we will consider Negros Oriental because it is very active in education,” Briones said.
The province recorded additional recoveries from Covid, even as one death was reported yesterday.
Assistant Provincial Health officer, Dr. Liland Estacion, health committee chair of the province’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said the province received 298 swab test results on Sunday.
Of the number, 281 turned out negative, including those of seven recoveries, 14 new infections, and three repeat-swab positive cases, Estacion said.
The seven recoveries are from Bacong – 3, Dumaguete City – 2, and Amlan and Bayawan City with one each.
The 14 new infections are from Dumaguete and Bayawan with five each, Sta. Catalina – 3, and Sibulan – 1.
Estacion also said the patient who died yesterday due to Covid was a 79-year-old male from Barangay Bagacay, Dumaguete. He was admitted to a private hospital in the capital and had co-morbidities, she said.
As of yesterday, the province had 1,322 cases, with 1,072 recoveries, 214 active cases, and 36 deaths. Dumaguete still has the highest number of active positive infections at 77, followed by Sibulan – 34, Tanjay City – 22, and Bacong – 14, while the rest have 10 cases and below except for Pamplona, Mabinay, Ayungon, Jimalalud, La Libertad, and Vallehermoso that have no new cases.*PNA