TEMPORARY CLASSROOM. Learners in Pansaan village in Maasin City, Southern Leyte attend graduation rites inside a tent set by UNICEF in this July 1, 2022 photo. Some students in Southern Leyte will attend classes in tents pending the completion of repair and reconstruction of classrooms damaged by recent destructive typhoons, the Department of Education reported on Tuesday (Aug. 16, 2022). (Photo courtesy of UNICEF)

TACLOBAN CITY – Some students in Southern Leyte will attend classes in tents pending the completion of repair and reconstruction of classrooms damaged by recent destructive typhoons, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported on Tuesday.

Of the 3,596 classrooms that need repair in Southern Leyte and some parts of Leyte destroyed by Typhoon Odette last December, only 367 rooms have funding for this year. The remaining will be repaired in 2023.

For the 182 damaged classrooms, only 16 rooms have available funds for reconstruction in 2022, and 166 rooms still require funding in the next several years.

“During her visit last week, our education secretary, Vice President Sara Duterte committed to work for the prioritization of damaged classrooms. Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez have been asking reports from us on the needs for inclusion in the next budget. Even with the limited resources, we must ensure that quality learning will continue,” DepEd Eastern Visayas Regional Director Evelyn Fetalvero said.

Since contractors can't complete repair works, schools will have to resort to shifting classes or build temporary learning spaces, according to DepEd Southern Leyte division superintendent Genis Murallos.

“Some 67 percent of schools are opening full face-to-face classes. The remaining will be limited, but we will make sure that students from Kindergarten to Grade 3 will have face-to-face classes,” Murallos added.

As of Tuesday noon, some 69,086 learners in Southern Leyte have already enrolled for the new school year.

In Maasin City, Southern Leyte, schools division superintendent Josilyn Solana said they have partnered with non-government organizations to build temporary classrooms for campuses with totally wrecked rooms.

“We are very much ready for the opening of classes. We have been planning for proper management of classrooms to allow all children to attend classes starting August 22,” Solana added.

In Baybay City, Leyte where massive landslides buried the entire village, including its school, students of Cantagnos village will be accommodated by a school in nearby barangay, said division superintendent Carmelino Bernadas.

Bernadas said a new campus would be set up in a safe location since Cantagnos village has been declared a danger zone.

The DepEd regional office reported that it’s all systems go for the opening of classes in 4,182 schools in Eastern Visayas with 75 percent of school children already signed up for the new school year as of Aug. 16.

Of the 1,301,782 Kindergarten to Grade 12 learners enrolled in the previous school year, 979,465 of them, or 75 percent were enrolled from July 25 to Aug. 16.

Recognizing the pandemic and the need to resume five days of in-person classes, the DepEd said schools would be given ample time to slowly transition by implementing options, such as the five days of in-person classes and blended learning modality.

Starting Nov. 2, all public and private schools will have transitioned to five days in-person classes. (PNA)