by Divina M. Suson
MARAWI CITY — Three elementary schools here are ready to open for a limited face-to-face classes on February 14 after finishing the simulation to determine the possible problems that might come during the opening.
Dr. Anna Zenaida Unte-Alonto, Schools Division Superintendent in Marawi, said Angoyao Elementary School in Barangay Paridi, Mapandi Elementary School in Barangay Gadongan and Nanapun Elementary School in Barangay Bangon, are ready to open after complying requirements for the physical classes.
Unte-Alonto said, the Bangsamoro region’s Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) found 27 schools in the city conducive for the face-to-face approach as they are considered at low risk based on the assessment but the Division of Marawi choose three priority schools.
The Division opted to focus on schools with vaccinated teachers, in far-flung communities and seen much ready, just needed to be honed to be more than prepared.
“We acknowledge the (approval of the) face-to-face classes given by the DepEd (Department of Education) central office…. the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) slated its opening on February 14. We were doing the same processes as what DepEd central office did,” Unte-Alonto said.
As early as 7:00 in the morning on February 3, around 100 learners of Mapandi Elementary School in Barangay Mapandi, here, started coming in, bringing with them their schools, excited to get inside the classroom for the first time in two years.
Some of them, who are in kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2, were first timers in physically coming to school because the first and second graders were having their modular classes because of the pandemic.
Some mothers, who sent them to school, were left outside the gate waving their children goodbye while others, after following the health protocols at the gate such as washing and disinfecting their hands and taking their body temperature, sent their children up to their classroom.
Outside each classroom, the teacher-adviser set-up washing area with hand soap, alcohol, hand towel and a shoe box where learners leave their shoes and change it with slippers intended to be worn inside the classroom.
Added to the learning materials and books inside the classrooms are body thermometer, box of facemask, alcohol and disinfection spray.
Each classroom has 70 learners divided into four groups to observe the one-meter physical distancing. Each group of learners will attend the class for one week in a month. While at home, they will be in a modular learning.
Classes each day is two hours, from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.
Jamila Maruhom, parent of a grade one learner, said she prefers the face-to-face learning because the teacher has different teaching approach than parents. She also believes her son needs to have interaction with his classmates to develop his social aspect.
“Kami lang kasi sa bahay wala siyang ibang nakikita. Hindi siya nakikinig sa akin kung ako ang nagtuturo. Mas excited din siya pumasok kasi iba yung makakasalamuha niya sa labas,” Maruhom said.
She said she is assured that her son will be safe from coronavirus because she saw how the preparations done in the school. And to make sure the child will not be infected with COVID-19, he will take a bath every morning, wear facemask when going out to school, would be reminded always to keep a distance with his classmates and always follow health protocols.
Few minutes after the simulation classes started on February 3, a teacher in grade 3 whistled.
The medical team on standby checked the room. One of the learners is coughing. The mother, who waited outside was called to fetch her child.
Majarlica Baragona, Mapandi Elementary School head, said each adviser has whistle with them to be used as alarm when they have learners showing flu symptoms.
“The child will be fetched by the school nurse, to be taken to the school clinic for observation. If the child needs to rest, the mother will be called to bring home her child. It is one of our best practice me implemented,” Baragona said.
The learners are also advised to bring with them slippers to wear inside their classroom so that they will leave their shoes in a shoe box outside
“But we are planning to buy slippers for each learners so that they will no longer bring with them slippers from home as we do not know if they have not used it outside,” said Rohana Usman, nurse of Mapandi Elementary School.
Inside the classrooms, the learners have no cubicle in their chairs like in some Lanao del Norte schools when the opened limited face-to-face classes because according to Usman, they preferred not to use cubicle so that there is proper ventilation.
“May facemask at face shield din naman kasi sila kaya napagkasunduan namin na huwag nang mag cubicle. Hindi rin naman sila dikit sa pagkakaupo, naka physical distancing sila,” Usman said.
Some teachers said the only challenge they met during the simulation exercise and they might encounter during the actual class is the complaint of the learners that they could hardly breath with their facemask on but they can consider taking off mask of one child for as long as all other classmates wear theirs. [END]