FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES. Olivia Basi (right), principal of the Saba Elementary School in Hermosa, Bataan, shares their strict implementation of safety and health protocols as pupils start to attend face-to-face classes on Monday (Feb. 21, 2022). Six other public elementary schools are now holding limited in-school classes in the province. (Photo by Ernie Esconde)

HERMOSA, Bataan – Seven public elementary schools under the Department of Education's (DepEd) Schools Division Office (SDO) in Bataan are now holding limited face-to-face classes.

In an interview on Tuesday, Ramon Perez, chief of the DepEd School Governance Operations Division, said in-school classes started Monday at the Saba Elementary School in Hermosa and in two schools each in Mariveles, Orani, and Bagac.

Perez, who was with a group of SDO–Bataan officials during an inspection of different public elementary schools, said one of the criteria set by DepEd for a school to open face-to-face classes was the absence of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the community within the last 28 days.

“Possibly by next Monday, ang ibang school ay mag-open na rin (other schools will likewise open),” he said.

Under SDO–Bataan are public primary and secondary schools in Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay, Pilar, Orion, Limay, Mariveles, Bagac and Morong. Balanga City has a separate SDO.

Olivia Basi, principal of the Saba Elementary School, noted the strict implementation of safety and health protocols at the school's entrance, in the classrooms, until their departure.

Face-to-face classes in Saba are being held for kindergarten and Grade 1 to Grade 3 pupils.

At the school's entrance, children are required to submit health declaration cards after their temperature is taken and hands disinfected with alcohol.

Before entering the classrooms, the children have to wash their hands in designated areas while observing social distancing. Each pupil is required to bring a face towel.

Entrance and exit lanes to the classrooms were properly marked with paint on the floor for children to follow. Each school chair has the name of the pupil.

A “no touch” policy is being practiced inside the classrooms where children are given activity sheets that they accomplish and place in a special box.

Grade 3 teacher Adelia Mendoza said under her regular class of 29 pupils, nine are presently attending face-to-face classes but the number will increase to 15 by next week, while the rest are under the modular scheme.

Basi said the number of children permitted to attend in-school classes is limited to 12 for kindergarten and 16 for Grades 1 to 3.

“Sa pagpili namin ay pinaprioritize namin ang mga marginalized pupil na mga batang kinakailangan talaga ng patnubay at walang gumagabay na mga magulang sa kanilang pagsagot sa modules (In the selection, we prioritized the marginalized pupils who really need guidance and have no parents to guide them in answering their modules),” she said.

Basi also appealed to Good Samaritans to help their school.

“Nananawagan din po kami sa mga gustong mag-share ng blessings dahil mahaba-haba pa ang labanan natin sa Covid-19. Ang aming school ay maliit lang ang pondo kaya kung sinoman ang mayroong ginintuang puso na handang magshare sa aming paaralan ay welcome na welcome po kayo (We are also calling those who want to share their blessings because our fight against Covid-19 is still far from over. Our school has meager funds, thus those who are willing to share are most welcome),” the school head said. (PNA)