KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 05 October) — As the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, public schools in the different parts of Soccsksargen region opened the first day of the school year Monday as if there were no classes sans the huge volume of students flocking to the campuses, an official said.
Allan Farnazo, PhD, director of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Soccsksargen, welcomed the learners and teachers on the first day of classes via online with the ceremonial flag-raising rites conducted at the Koronadal National Comprehensive High School here.
“For the first time in (our) history, classes are done as if there are no classes because our children are at home and our teachers, most of them, are at home too (for the distance learning),” he said.
“We don’t see the flock of motorcycles, parents and learners flooding our gates during the first day of classes,” he added.
Monday’s school opening was historic not only for the DepEd but also for the entire country because for the first time in the history of Philippine education, classes started in time with the World Teacher’s Day, Farnazo said.
Soccsksargen or Region 12 straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
In Sultan Kudarat, Gov. Suharto Mangudadatu deferred the opening of classes for elementary and high school students to 2021.
He stated the directive in Executive Order 52, which extended the modified general community quarantine status in the province until October 15 in line with the fight against the spread of the dreaded COVID-19.
The DepEd has offered distance learning, which includes either modular, online or TV/radio based instruction, and blending learning modalities to fight the spread of the virus.
Blended learning modality combines face-to-face with any or a mix of online, modular and TV/radio-based Instruction.
But President Rodrigo Duterte barred face-to-face classes until a vaccine against the virus will be available to ensure the health of teachers and students.