DepEd: 869 schools converted to evacuation centers

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    EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones yesterday said 869 schools nationwide are now sheltering evacuees from various calamities, particularly families displaced by super typhoon Rolly.

    Interviewed over the public briefing “Laging Handa,” Briones admitted it is not an ideal situation since the Department of Education is hoping to get these facilities ready for the resumption of regular classes in schoolrooms next year.

    But she acknowledged that with the magnitude of the typhoon damage in several provinces the schools buildings are the logical venue to shelter the big number of evacuees.

    “In the first place, we are not holding any face-to-face classes so the students are not going to their schools. It is unavoidable that our school buildings are now serving as evacuation centers or even quarantine centers,” she said.

    Briones pointed out that there is a general regulation requiring all local government units to construct their own evacuation centers or general-purpose buildings for the purpose of hosting families who have to move out of their homes.

    Briones said she made representations with local governments that if a school is already serving as a quarantine center, it cannot serve also as an evacuation center.

    “They have to find another vacant building. It doesn’t make sense to mix the two. You cannot have an evacuation center and a quarantine center in one place,” she pointed out.

    Eventually, the DepEd chief said LGUs have to find another space for evacuees since the department has to get the schools ready for the next academic year.

    “They have to find a permanent solution, because we all know typhoons are regular events every year so we just have to make ready. They cannot keep on taking over our schools,” she said.

    The DepEd, meanwhile, has issued a memorandum on how teachers and learners can make distance learning easy and less stressful.

    DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio said the memorandum aims to foster “academic ease” and help teachers and learners who are still adapting to the distance learning set-up.

    “In the memorandum, we outlined ten highly-recommended measures to field units to ensure flexibility in teaching and learning,” he said.

    “The measures suggested are expected to enable the learners and learning facilitators to navigate through the challenges of the new normal in the teaching and learning process and make necessary adjustment throughout the school year,” he added. – With Noel Talacay