Around the University Town26,000 Kids Sign Up For Face-To-Face Classes

26,000 Kids Sign Up For Face-To-Face Classes

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The number of elementary and high school students in public schools in this capital city has increased by almost 3,000 compared to the pre-pandemic population of about 23,000, an official of the Department of Education here said Monday.

Dr. Gregorio Cyrus Elejorde, schools division superintendent of the Dumaguete DepEd division, said that as of Aug. 22, the number of learners enrolled for the resumption of the face-to-face classes has almost reached 26,000.

“On the first day of the in-person classes, the enrollees are almost 26,000 and we are expecting more in the coming days as enrollment continues,” Elejorde told the media in an interview.

The DepEd official attributes the increase to learners transferring from private to public schools for practical reasons as well as parents having lost their jobs or sources of income over the course of two years at the height of the pandemic.

An initial assessment made by the DepEd on the first day of the resumption of face-to-face classes showed minimal problems encountered such as adjustment issues, Elejorde said.

These include parents asking for certification of enrollment of their student or students so they can avail of the educational assistance from the Department of Social Welfare & Development, he noted.

“This disrupts our operations considering we are still in the adjustment period and we are trying to regulate the number of people inside the classrooms or schools as part of our commitment to make these spaces safe from CoViD-19,” he added.

In most cases, Elejorde said parents, guardians, or other individuals are asked to just drop off and pick up their learners at the gates or entrance of the schools, and exceptions are only granted for the younger children, especially those who have not yet been exposed to classroom instruction.

Another concern that is being addressed is the scheduling of classes for the learners, whether they are on a one-shift or two-shift mode, depending on the size and availability of classrooms, he said.

For the first week, there will be no academic engagement as the learners will go through an orientation phase, undergo psychological debriefing, and relearn social skills, among others, he added.

Wearing uniforms is optional, although Elejorde said it is preferable.

There are 18 elementary schools and seven secondary schools here.

Meanwhile, Elejorde announced that the DepEd is undertaking psychological debriefing and other similar activities for learners to cope with various new situations as face-to-face (F2F) classes resumed on Monday, an official here said on Tuesday.

“For two years, our children have not been into their regular social interaction, and staying at home may also have caused trauma or stress for a lot of our learners,” Elejorde said.

“To prepare them for school or a different paradigm and different situations, this is an automatic response of the department to provide them with a psychological debriefing,” he added.

The DepEd official noted that many learners show diminished social skills due to virtual or modular/homeschooling for the past two years with very little exposure to other people.

The psychological debriefing will help the learners discover their feelings and provide relief to the trauma they had undergone during the pandemic, he said.

Teachers have been trained to conduct the psychological debriefing while a group of professional guidance counselors have prepared the materials and are on hand to assist them in future sessions for children needing additional help, Elejorde said.

The teachers also underwent psychological debriefing several times in the past two years to help them cope with the health crisis.

“In the event that some children continue to exhibit trauma, our response would be to expose them to regular counseling but on a case-to-case basis depending on the needs of the child,” Elejorde said. (Judy F. Partlow/PNA)

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