In order to help students adjust to the post-pandemic shift to in-person learning, vice president and education secretary Sara Z. Duterte stated on Tuesday that learners must receive support for their mental wellness.

At a forum after the State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte claimed that the Department of Education (DepEd) had instructed its regional offices to provide this service to students.

“We instructed our regional offices to coordinate with their local mental health associations, in their psychiatric societies to come up with mental wellness support for our learners who for the past two years, only knew of the online classroom, and now they are transitioning to our in-person teaching,” she said.

The mandatory face-to-face learning setup will begin on November 2, but Duterte assured that they have given schools and students enough time to get used to it. As a result of the earlier announcement of these modalities for the upcoming school year, enrollment reached over three million on the first day.

“We did not directly impose upon them to begin five-day in-person classes in their schools. We allowed them to conduct a blended learning mode, which is combined with in-person and distance learning,” she said, referring to the setup allowed from August 22 to October 31.

“I am happy to share with everyone that our enrollment for the first day was 3.3 million already, as compared to our first day of last year which was at 222,000 only,” Duterte said.

The education commissioner added that plans are also being developed for the restoration and rebuilding of the schools damaged by Typhoons Odette and Agaton. If any repairs are necessary, the Department of Public Works and Highways is also anticipated to assist with building reconstruction.

Duterte visited the damaged schools in Bohol on July 22 to determine their condition and address their needs.

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