NEW SCHOOL YEAR. Teachers of the Rizal Central School (RCS) in Tacloban City check enrollment documents in this July 28, 2022 photo. At least 979,465 elementary and high school learners in Eastern Visayas have signed up for the new school year as of August 16, the Department of Education reported on Wednesday (Aug. 17, 2022). (Photo courtesy of RCS)

TACLOBAN CITY – At least 979,465 elementary and high school learners in Eastern Visayas have signed up for the new school year as of August 16 or six days before the opening of classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported on Wednesday.

The number represents 75.24 percent of the 1,301,782 actual number of students from kindergarten to senior high school recorded during Academic Year 2021-2022, DepEd 8 (Eastern Visayas) information officer Jazmin Calzita said in a phone interview.

“We expect to register all school-aged children in the next days since other parents and students practice last-minute enrollment,” Calzita said in an interview.

Since July 25, she said, the education department has been conducting physical enrollment, with options for a remote enrollment.

The in-person enrollment is permitted while observing minimum health and safety standards, including wearing face masks, temperature check upon entry, availability of rubbing alcohol, and physical distancing to avoid the spread of the virus.

Schools can also facilitate remote enrollment by having parents or legal guardians or the learners fill out digital forms and send these through the official email address of the school or any of the available messaging platforms provided.

Calzita said they are upbeat about locating the remaining 25 percent of children not yet enrolled with strategies, such as home visitations, group chats, and coordination with local officials.

The DepEd conducted Brigada Eskwela, focusing on an information campaign, preparations, and strengthening partnerships that complement the department's effort to ensure quality basic education.

For the new school year that will start on August 22, the DepEd only prescribed the options of in-person classes, blended learning modality, and total distance learning until October 31 this year.

Starting November 2, all public and private schools will have to transition to five days of face-to-face classes.

No school will be allowed to implement purely distance learning or blended learning except for those implementing alternative delivery modes as provided in a department order issued in 2019. (PNA)