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BONTOC, Mountain Province – The municipal mayors of the ten municipalities of Mountain Province welcome the proposal for limited face-to-face classes, subject to compliance with health protocols and Municipal-Inter Agency Task Force (MIATF) guidelines.
This was the consensus of the mayors during a meeting with the officials of the Department of Education (DepEd)- Mountain Province on January 6, 2021. The DepEd- Mountain Province initiated the meeting to address the challenges brought about by distance learning.
The mayors unanimously voiced out their support for the proposed plan of limited face-to-face classes, provided that the concerned Local Government Units (LGUs) shall have the free-will to revise the policies and guidelines presented by DepEd- Mountain Province.
Mountain Province Schools Division Superintendent Sally Ullalim remarked that while President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the DepEd to cancel the planned dry run of face-to-face classes in areas classified under low-risk of COVID-19, the concerned stakeholders at the municipal level must take actions and prepare for a ready-plan should Duterte will again give its green light.
The municipal mayors are passionate about the conduct of limited face-to-face classes following the feedback gathered by the DepEd from the parents, guardians, and the learners.
Khad Layag, the Chief of Curriculum Implementation Division (CID) presented the feedback from the ten municipalities of Mountain Province in the conduct of Modular Distance Learning. The parents, guardians, and learners in the elementary and secondary level unanimously clamor for the conduct of face-to-face classes. Per feedback gathered by the DepEd, most parents and guardians cannot assist their children in their modules because of their educational attainment and background, and type of work. Aside from this, not all learners can comprehend the content of the modules, thus they either copy the answers keys, let the parents or guardians answer the modules, or submit the modules unanswered.
Also, there are subjects at the secondary level that require the use of gadgets, devices, internet connectivity, and instruments and equipment of which not all learners have the resources at home.
In a separate interview, Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey remarked that he is supportive of the limited face-to-face classes, provided, that minimum health protocols will be implemented.
The mayor added that a clear policy and specific guidelines must be formulated to ensure the health and safety of students, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders during its implementation.
Public Schools District Supervisor (PSDS) – Bontoc District Amelia Wacangan mentioned that initially, Bontoc has recommended four schools to be included in the pilot testing. These are Can-eo Elementary School, Chapyusen Multi-Grade, Dalican Elementary School, and Maligcong Elementary School. However, with the sudden surge of COVID-19 positive cases in the municipality, it was decided that the abovementioned schools will not be recommended for pilot testing.
As of press time, Bontoc District is preparing the district-wide limited face-to-face based on the District Plan approved by Mayor Odsey.
The Municipal Inter-Agency Task Force (MIATF) is scheduled to meet on January 12, 2021, to discuss the Bontoc District Plan for the limited face-to-face.
According to Wacangan, it shall be the MIATF to identify the schools where face-to-face classes will be implemented based on their compliance with MIATF guidelines.
By Alpine L. Killa