• Melo Acuna

DEPED has the time and resources to reconfigure school buildings

Secretary Briones believes there’s time to make adjustments prior to school opening

MANILA – Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said they are doing an inventory of their facilities in time for the school opening in August 24.

In a press briefing at Malacanang, Secretary Briones said this is the reason they have politely opposed moves to use school facilities as half-way houses for persons undergoing COVID-19 screening.

“Our budget has increased over the years to address the increasing number of enrollees as kindergarten and nursery kids continue to grow where on the average, we have a million new entrants,” Secretary Briones said.

Asked how the Department of Education hopes to implement physical distancing and health standards, Secretary Briones said the new school buildings will comply with the basic requirements but would need repair for old buildings.

“We also have to reduce the size of the classes which reached 70 to a hundred in some instances. We may have to further reduce from the usual 45 to a classroom,” she added.

She reassuringly said they will have hand-washing facilities and enough stock of medicines should school pupils have fever or cough.

“We will have to follow two requirements, those from the Department of Health and from President Duterte who said without the vaccine, there won’t be face-to-face instructions,” she added.

A check with the Official Gazette revealed the government has appropriated P500,272,113,000 in 2019 and P520,281,614,000 for this year. Of this total amount, 74% of the appropriations for 2020 was earmarked for personnel services which include salaries and wages of school teachers and non-teaching personnel. (Melo M. Acuña)

Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones. (Photo from DEPED Website)

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