CEBU CITY, Philippines — Mayors in Cebu province expressed support for the return of face-to-face classes albeit in a limited capacity.
The League of Municipalities in Cebu (LMP-Cebu), in a resolution dated October 30, 2020 and released to the media on November 14, 2020, urged the Department of Education here (DepEd-Cebu province) to provide clear policies for the implementation of ‘limited’ face-to-face classes in the province.
“The League is not opposed to the prospect of limited face-to-face classes as proposed by DepEd provided that DepEd provides a clear policy, a more concrete execution plan, and specific guidelines in order to ensure the health and safety of students, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders during its implementation,” portions of the resolution stated.
The two-page document was signed by San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Reluya and Liloan Mayor Ma. Christina Frasco who are LMP-Cebu’s Secretary and President respectively.
LMP-Cebu’s statements came after DepEd – Cebu province, in a meeting with town and component city mayors, proposed to conduct limited face-to-face classes in areas with low and zero risks of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in order to address the challenges brought about by distance learning.
“Among the challenges discussed concerning education in the new normal was the societal impact of the new modes of education and its effects on the mental health of children, the heavy financial and logistical burden of printing materials for modular learning, poor telephone signal and internet connection, vast unavailability of gadgets and devices, the inability or difficulty of some parents to assist students in module based classes due to the circumstances of their household, and the difficulty of ensuring that students are absorbing the lessons well and are properly monitored considering the physical absence of teachers in their day-to-day learning,” the group said.
Aside from an execution plan and a set of guidelines, LMP-Cebu also asked DepEd-Cebu province to identify areas where limited face-to-face classes would be implemented, and secure clearance and approval from Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia as well as from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and DepEd’s central office before they could proceed with their plans.
“The League gives importance to education as one of the priority programs of every local government unit, believing that the education of our youth forms the bedrock of a strong and stable nation now and in the future,” they added.
As of November 8, data from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) showed that 21 out of the 44 towns in Cebu province have recorded zero active cases of COVID-19.
Cebu province, which is composed of 44 municipalities and six component cities, has been placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) since July. /dbs