MANIFESTING #LIGTASNABALIKESKWELA SOON: WHAT WE MISS MOST ABOUT FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES
Government is slowly easing restrictions as cases of COVID-19 are declining. And the reopening of schools is one of the things which we highly anticipate the most! In this issue of The FEED, we look back with excitement at the things which we miss most about face-to-face classes. But before we get there, we must do our share in ending this pandemic – by getting vaccinated. Katambay, classmates, friends, are you excited to “go back to school”? Nakakamiss na no? Share with us what you miss most about face-to-face classes!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Duterte declared an enhanced community quarantine for the whole island of Luzon on March 16, 2020 which resulted to the prohibition of conducting face-to-face classes and the temporary closure of schools. On December 2020, the DepEd’s requested for the reopening of schools but it was rejected by President Duterte citing an increase in COVID-19 Alpha variant cases. In another bid to reopen schools, the DepEd made another request on February 2021, which the president, once again rejected, citing that the country should first vaccinate teachers and students to safeguard public health. And just last June, President Duterte again instructed DepEd to cancel the intended resumption of face-to-face classes because of the threat of the more contagious COVID-19 Delta strain. Come August, the Philippines was among the last five countries in the world still closed due to the pandemic.
As of writing, it has been approximately two years since schools were forced to cease the conduct of face-to-face classes and shift to alternative ways to continue education. Since the number of new cases daily is now on a decline, some educational institutions have already been finally given the green light to conduct limited face-to-face classes for certain courses. In addition, some provinces are already piloting the conduct of face-to-face classes for elementary students with the strict implementation of health and safety protocols.
As much as we are excited to attend our classes in person again, there is still much to be done before we could really come back and “go to school” like we used to. Systems must be put in place to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and all school personnel. However, the challenges ahead should not diminish our hope that we’ll soon be able to step foot on our second home, which we dearly miss, once again.
Kaya habang nag-aabang para sa isang #LigtasNaBalikEskwela, trip down memory lane muna tayo mga Katambay! Here’s a list of what we miss the most about face-to-face classes:
“Guys, pumila na raw.” Kahit ikaw man yung tipong 30 minutes before the bell rings ay nasa school na, yung tipong buzzer beater, o yung tipong pumapasok ng late habang may dala-dalang iced coffee, malamang ay miss mo na ring ma-experience yung pag-pila by height at pag-recite ng Panatang Makabayan. ‘Wag na lang din kalimutang magdala ng pamaypay panlaban sa init!
“Lunch break na!” Sino ba naman sa atin ang hindi na-mimiss kumain with friends? Kahit kayo pa yung barkada na lumalabas for lunch, mga suki ng canteen, o yung laging may baon, alam nating mas sumasarap ang pagsasalo-salo kapag may kasamang chikahan.
“Anong araw ka cleaners?” ‘Yan ang madalas mong itanong sa kaibigan mo sa kabilang section kasi maghihintayan kayo. Strictly: Bawal tumakas! Kahit na kadalasang kinatatamaran, parte pa rin ito ng buhay estudyante. Aminin niyo na, nakakamiss ding mag-labanan sa pagwawalis, mag-agawan sa basahan, at mauna sa pagpapagpag ng blackboard eraser!
“Aral tayo sa library!” Aral nga ba ang pinunta o…pagtulog? Nag-aya ka man sa library para talagang mag-research o para maghanap ng peace and quiet, iba pa rin yung access na mayroon tayo sa mga learning materials when we’re studying within the campus. Iba din syempre yung vibes of doing group study sessions offline instead of online.
“May practice daw sa bahay nila…” Admit it, group work is more fun when you actually get to meet and practice with your groupmates. Whether it be for a presentation, a role play, or a dance number to a jingle about polynomials, mas masaya to kapag may kasamang pag-dayo sa bahay ng kaklase. Great bonus kapag may pa-merienda.
“United ba kayo?” Kadalasang nagkakatanungan nito kapag may mga contests sa school. Kapag talaga Nutrition Month, Buwan ng Wika, at Intramurals nagkakaalaman kung gaano “ka-solid” ang section niyo. After weeks of intense practice, training, papapaprint ng class t-shirt, at props-making…sino kaya ang magwawagi? (Pero mas wagi talaga kapag may crush kang ichee-cheer.)
“Permission slip niyo?” One thing we really couldn’t do this past year is to travel, so school trips are definitely something we greatly miss. Be it just a trip with your barkada (permission slip = ipinaalam ni bestie) or an academic excursion. Ihanda na ang signed waiver, ang OOTDs, ang snacks, ang retreat letters, at ang pambili ng pasalubong!
It has been almost two years since we have been confined in our homes. And though we have entered a new normal that involves adjusting and improving our health and safety, it does not mean that this will forever be our reality. Slowly but surely, we have to go back to our schools and retrieve our former sense of normalcy.
Distance learning has been an experiment of hits and misses and it has already taken its toll not only on students but also on our gallant educators. And the longer this goes on, the harder it would be for everyone not just on their physical health, but also on their mental wellbeing.
With this being said, the reopening of schools should be done in a manner that would guarantee the safety of every student and teacher—thus #LigtasNaBalikEskwela. However, “Ligtas na balik eskwela” is not just a catchphrase or a slogan that ought to be mentioned but executed properly as well. This involves not only the government but also calls for the help of every stakeholder involved. We should all do our part in reopening our schools. One way to do that is by getting vaccinated. So be sure to get that vaccine to turn our manifestation into reality.
Let us cooperate with the authorities so that they can hasten the permission to allow face-to-face classes again – to learn with our classmates inside a classroom, to run around the campus, to eat street food outside the gates of the school, to join school intramurals, to get called to the guidance office, to organize and attend school programs – basically, so that we can have fun learning again. We cannot wait to greet our teachers in person and in unison again. We can already hear the first bell to mark the start of classes of a new day. How about you katambay, what do you miss most about face-to-face classes?
Cover art by Leiah Mari Ocampo