By Noel Talacay
EDUCATION Secretary Leonor Briones yesterday said all undersecretaries and directors of the Department of Education (DepEd) will be on the field today to check on the hits and misses as distance learning under the new normal starts today, Monday.
Briones said she will be at the DepEd Central Office where the Command Center is located to oversee the opening of classes for this school year and address all the concerns expected to come up.
Face-to-face classes had been discouraged due to the coronavirus disease until a vaccine becomes available.
The DepEd’s national enrollment data for school year 2020-2021 showed 24,723,533 students have enrolled in public and private schools, including state universities and colleges (SUCs), or 89.02 percent of the more than 27 million students who enrolled in 2019.
All of them will be in their houses participating in distance learning, the new normal of the educational system as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar directed police commanders to closely coordinate with barangay officials to ensure situation in communities are conducive to online classes.
“Our local police personnel and barangay officials should work together to extend all the necessary assistance to make sure that our online learners would be able to concentrate on their study,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar said policemen, in coordination with the barangays, should ensure that noise is minimized, especially those coming from community quarantine violators.
The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has advised students to create strong passwords – composed of at least 12 characters that contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols – when signing in on e-learning platforms.
The NPC also advised students to be alert and wary when sharing videos, photos, and other files; using customized backgrounds to avoid accidental disclosure of personal information; installing anti-virus program; muting microphones, and turning off webcams, if allowed, during synchronous online classes unless reciting and keeping the microphones and cameras off during breaks.
Students are also discouraged to connect their devices in public Wi-Fi networks unless and to ensure the public network has a password and is not accessible to everyone if it cannot be avoided; sharing submissions for an unlimited time; sending assignments, projects and other requirements to teachers via social media; taking screenshots of the video feed of teachers and classmates; spamming the chat; and giving out online links and their passwords to people who are not part of the class.
Parents are also discouraged from leaving the child, especially minors, unsupervised during the conduct of online learning, while teachers are advised to take note of the “privacy, equity, and peculiarity” of students when conducting online classes.
FOOD SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, concurrent co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, on Saturday night said the DepEd and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are set to proceed with the implementation of the school feeding program for students starting this month.
Nograles, during the Karlo Nograles Live program over Facebook, said the feeding program would be done through a house-to-house delivery of nutritious food. The DepEd will oversee the program for grade 1 to 6 students or those aged between six and 11 while DSWD will oversee the feeding program for kindergarten pupils or those aged two to five.
He said the usual rice, canned goods and noodles are not enough to meet the nutritional needs of the children.
He said selected school children may receive delivery of food products like the enhanced nutribun, iron-fortified rice, and instant food packs of laing and pochero that had been developed by the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI). Fresh vegetables and fish bought from farmers and fishermen may also be distributed.
Nograles said the IATF also approved last week a supplemental feeding program for kids aged between six month and 23 months but the task force is still looking for funds for the program. They are hoping to implement it either later this month or by November. – With Jocelyn Montemayor and Victor Reyes