Vaccination efforts have ramped up in the Philippines and now includes those aged 5-11. This adds an extra layer of protection for children during physical interactions in the new normal, and is also ideal as schools participate in the pilot test of face-to-face classes.
Schools are also implementing health and safety measures to protect teachers and students during in-person learning. With the help of Nestlé Wellness Campus (NWC), they are also able to promote nutrition, health and wellness through 7 timely and relevant Healthy Habits. These include Choose Nutritious and Varied Options; Manage Portions; Choose to Drink Water and Milk; Play Actively; Enjoy Meals Together; Keep Good Hygiene; and, Care for the Planet.
Ricardo P. Cruz Sr. and its steady face-to-face transition
Ricardo P. Cruz Sr. Elementary School in Taguig City is among the schools that experienced blended learning challenges. Principal IV Dr. Cipriano M. Bisco, Jr. shared, “During the start of blended learning, our teachers, even the parents and students themselves, had to adjust as they were not familiar with the new tools and modalities. There were also concerns on the distribution and collection of modules, and connectivity which prevented students from keeping up with classes.”
Nestlé Wellness Campus has already been a long-time partner of the school. Bisco said, “When the pandemic hit, they continued to support us through soft copies of the modules, which we shared with students so they could learn with their parents. Their support really allowed us to foster a sense of community while also promoting the value of wellness.”
Ricardo P. Cruz Sr. is one of the first schools in the country to participate in the in-person pilot. Out of the 5,458 student population and 145 teachers, 163 students and 11 faculty staff who are fully vaccinated are currently participating.
The school has dedicated “Wellness Corners” in classrooms where students can learn more about NWC’s 7 Healthy Habits. These focus on the value of proper nutrition and active lifestyle, as well as bonding and eating with the family and other practices like sustainability and solid waste management. MAPEH Coordinator Rady D. Delos Reyes shared, “This is where we show the different Healthy Habits story animations that we produced to keep students engaged during their learning breaks.”
“We are grateful for all the support being given by NWC. Everyone is motivated to participate and join, even the parents, and many talents are being developed. As we are well into our transition to face-to-face, we hope to continue instilling the value of wellness while ensuring everyone’s safety virtually and on the ground,” said Bisco.
Bagong Silangan gears up for early 2022 face-to-face classes
Another school that has resumed face-to-face classes is Bagong Silangan Elementary School in Quezon City. From their 8,471 student population and 235 teachers, around 106 Grade 3 students and parents have expressed interest in participating with 12 teachers.
In preparation, School Wellness Coordinators Teacher Joyce J. Jagong and Teacher Estela Marie C. Sabiniano shared that aside from the safety measures on ground, having fully vaccinated teachers and staff was one of their top priorities to help protect the students.
When it comes to nutrition, health and wellness, Jagong shared how Nestlé Wellness Campus helped Bagong Silangan during the pandemic. “We saw how much the children and parents improved. They ate more nutritious meals and spent more time together, even participating in dancercise.” Sabiniano added that the program also reinforced proper handwashing, which students thoroughly practiced.
They hope that NWC’s 7 Healthy Habits and different safety protocols will help ease fears and concerns about face-to-face learning. “When parents see the strict implementation of health and safety measures and also the healthy habits practices, they’ll be inspired as they see that there really is a safe environment for their kids,” Sabiniano explained.
Jagong also expressed their gratitude towards the program. “We are thankful to the entire Nestlé Wellness Campus program because of the benefits not only to our school but to communities across the country. We really believe that this program is able to help a lot of people, especially during this time.”
“Nestlé Wellness Campus has always been a strong partner of public schools and these communities inspire us to keep going,” said Kevin Carpio, Nestlé Wellness Campus Project Lead and Corporate Nutritionist at Nestlé PH. “As the Kasambuhay sa Kalusugan of Filipino families, we remain committed to supporting them and in promoting wellness for many years to come. We thank and honor these communities for helping us encourage more Filipino families to live healthier, happier lives in the unfolding normal,” he added.