ALL SET. This undated photo shows learners attending their class at one of the public schools in Region 3. May B. Eclar, regional director of the Department of Education-Central Luzon, said on Wednesday (Aug. 17, 2022) that around 98 percent of the 3,687 public schools in the region are ready for the opening of classes on Aug. 22. (File photo)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Over 3,000 public schools in Central Luzon are ready for the opening of classes on Aug. 22.

May B. Eclar, regional director of the Department of Education-Central Luzon (DepEd-3), said on Wednesday that around 98 percent of the 3,687 public schools in the region have been prepared and are gearing up for the transition to five days of face-to-face classes.

To avoid congestion, she said the DepEd-3 will implement shifting in selected schools in case the need arises.

“Kung kulang sa classrooms, ang ating school heads ay nagkakaroon ng strategies. Kung talagang kinakailangan na magkaroon ng shifting ng classes, isa ito sa alternatibong solusyon (In case there is lack of classrooms, our school heads have strategies. If the need arises, there will be shifting. It is one of the alternative solutions),” Eclar said in an interview.

As of Aug. 15, more than 2.3 million learners have enrolled in the region and the number is expected to increase until the opening of classes.

Central Luzon is the second region with the highest number of enrollees, next to Calabarzon, which has 2.9 million learners.

“Ako po ay nanawagan sa mga magulang na base sa datos na nakolekta dito sa regional office na marami pa rin ang mga hindi pa nakapag-enroll. Ang enrollment natin ay hanggang Aug. 22. So, ang ating mga guro po ay naghihintay sa ating mga anak na sana ay makapasok na (I am calling on the parents that based on the data we gathered here in the regional office, there are still some learners who are not yet enrolled. The enrollment is until Aug. 22. So, our teachers are waiting for our children, hoping they could come to school),” Eclar said.

She also noted that the DepEd Region 3 Public Assistance Command Center is open from Aug. 15-26 to provide immediate virtual assistance to enrollees and their parents by answering their queries.

Meanwhile, Governor Jose Enrique Garcia III announced on Wednesday that Bataan is ready for the face-to-face classes and assured that public elementary and secondary schools are prepared for the opening on Aug. 22.

He said he met with officials of the DepEd Schools Division of Bataan and the Schools Division of Balanga City and members of the provincial school board to discuss measures for the safety of school children amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Tony Leachon, Bataan provincial health consultant, dealt with the importance of proper ventilation in the classrooms, availability of enough supply of face masks for children and teachers and access to hand washing or sanitation areas.

“Tiniyak naman ng inyong lingkod na ang lahat ng ito ay nakahanda na sa bawat paaralan at ipinaabot natin sa kanila na patuloy na nakaalalay ang pamahalaang panlalawigan ng Bataan sa mga pangangailangan ng mga guro at mag-aaral (We made sure that everything is ready in every school and we told them that the provincial government of Bataan is in support to the needs of the teachers and students),” the governor said in an interview.

“Ito’y upang mapanatiling mataas ang kalidad ng edukasyon sa ating lalawigan nang hindi isinasantabi ang kalusugan ng bawat isa (This is to keep high quality education in our province without setting aside the health of everyone),” Garcia added.

Likewise, school principal Alice de Guzman of the Samal South Elementary School (SSES) said their school is prepared for the opening of classes.

“June 25 pa lamang ay nagsimula nang maghanda ang aming mga guro at mag-ayos ng mga silid-aralan kaya naniniwala ako na sa August 22, 2022 ay handang-handa na ang mga guro para sa pagdating ng mga estudyante (Our teachers started preparing and fixing classrooms as early as June 25 so I believe that on Aug. 22, the teachers are ready for the arrival of students),” she said.

De Guzman said parents have to decide whether to let their kids go to school or not because they know better the health condition of their children.

She repeatedly reminded parents not to let their children attend classes if they are not feeling well and showing symptoms of Covid-19 such as cold, fever and cough.

De Guzman said parents and children should continue following health protocols including the washing of hands, wearing face masks and practicing social distancing. (PNA)