The Department of Education (DepEd) announced Tuesday that the School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT), used to determine whether schools are ready to engage in the extension of in-person sessions, has been changed.
The SSAT was modified, according to the Department of Education, based on the monitoring and assessment findings of its trial implementation, as well as the schools' requirements for safe reopening.
The redesigned SSAT is divided into four sections: teaching and learning, school operations, school-community coordination, and well-being and protection.
“We ensure that the health, safety, and well-being of our learners, teachers, and personnel remain our utmost priority. Our revised SSAT will help the Department mobilize the progressive expansion of our face-to-face classes in areas under Alert 1 and 2,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.
According to DepEd, “managing school operations,” schools “need to receive support from community stakeholders, emphasizing the shared responsibility framework.”
“They must conduct simulation activities among school personnel regarding managing the conduct of face-to-face classes, and the school must ensure that learners who will participate in the expansion must submit parent's consent,” it said.
DepEd revises safety assessment protocols
Meanwhile, the significant sign of a school's readiness under “teaching and learning” is the necessary supply of learning resources needed to expand class programs that cater to students both in face-to-face arrangements and distant learning.
Participating schools should equally implement ways to minimize covid-19 transmission among stakeholders and continue providing essential mental health services and psychological support to ensure their well-being and protection.
Furthermore, schools should make plans for collaborating with local government entities to guarantee that health procedures are followed and that school-based immunization is implemented, among other things.
“Our SSAT will not be the final determinant if a school will participate in our progressive expansion. However, it is our way to prepare our schools for the eventual reopening and to inform them of the required indicators and standards that they need to meet to ensure the safety of our learners and school personnel,” said Briones.
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