By: Maria Kristina Salientes
As the school year quickly approaches, administrators all around the world are left with the daunting task of deciding how education may continue amidst a global pandemic. Here is what our school in the Philippines is doing to tackle the problem: The first cases of the novel-corona virus were recorded earlier this year, a national emergency which vacated us from our workplaces, businesses, schools, and especially our normal lives. Almost all the regions were affected. We were left in utter distraught, particularly those within the realm of education. Being pushed into this newly enforced ordinance, we were all novices once again. Students from colleges and universities struggled the most, being able to interact with their professors only through online platforms (despite not everyone having the same strong internet connection from their homes). Schools are still trying to adapt, seeking suggestions from the authorities and their students, yet are still unsure about how to handle the departments that study mostly inside the laboratory and the field.
The secondary and elementary educational systems, the setting in which children are most vulnerable, are being discussed by the Department of Education to formulate new modalities, as school-based and face-to-face learning are not conceivable in line with the still soaring numbers of infection. The current government specifies that face-to-face learning will not be permitted until a viable vaccine is available. Continuing to a new academic year plans to guarantee all possible measures will be taken to ensure that no child will be excluded from learning during the COVID-19 crisis. Home-schooling in public schools is being considered wherein students are given modules every week for a self-directed study. This will cost a lot of bond papers and printing materials for its production. The demand for supplies for the increasing number of students is a challenge to every school since this was not included in the fiscal year budget. DepEd school heads and teachers assured that all students will be reached, from far-flung areas to coastal areas, and to even those with no internet access and electricity. They pledge that they will see to it that no student will be left behind including students with special needs. They are attempting to establish linkage to different stakeholders and are finding possible generous donors to donate their needed materials for the production of modules. This ensures that basic education is still accessible amid the COVID-19 crisis.