MANILA - Before the pandemic, the first day of a new school year often saw students excitedly going to campus and gathering in classrooms, where they would meet their classmates and teachers.
But it will play out differently this year as campuses remain closed and in-person classes suspended due to the continuing threat of COVID-19, which has, so far, infected over 304,000 in the country.
The first day will be different for each student, depending on their distance learning modality, Education Undersecretary Diosado San Antonio said Monday, a week before the start of the academic year in public schools.
"'Yong first school day, siyempre, iba-iba siya kasi iba-iba 'yong learning delivery modality. But ang sigurado, kung pupunta tayo sa school, wala tayong matatagpuang estudyante," said San Antonio, adding that learning would now happen at home.
(The first day of school will be different because of the different learning delivery modality. But what's certain is if you go to schools, we won't see any students.)
Students are expected to tune in to educational programs aired over TV and radio, guided by supplementary learning resources, such as self-learning modules or books, said San Antonio.
San Antonio said students can also start answering their activity sheets and see if they, especially those in the higher grade levels, are capable of independent learning.
Those in the early grade levels will be assisted by their parent, guardian, teacher or learning support aides, San Antonio said.
Learners with digital copies of the self-learning modules can also start studying.
Meanwhile, teachers of online classes may conduct synchronous meetings, according to San Antonio.
Teachers and school heads can also start monitoring the progress of students and see who among the learners need more attention.
"Inaasahan na natin ang mga teacher na... mag-follow-up sa kanilang mga estudyante," said San Antonio.
(We expect that our teachers... will follow-up with their students.)
As of Monday, 22.4 million learners have registered in public schools, data from the DepEd showed.
The DepEd moved the start of the academic year to Oct. 5 from Aug. 24 to give schools more time to prepare in the implementation of distance learning. Private schools, on the other hand, were allowed to begin earlier.
President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the resumption of in-person classes for next year, assuming that a COVID-19 vaccine would be available by then.