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Monthly Lockdown Diaries: Meet Janel

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Janel, an incoming Grade 8 student, GCL and FFLA player from Tacloban City, shares the struggles and challenges she currently faces while learning in lockdown.

How did you feel about the lockdown?

At first it was boring, just staying inside the house and not meeting my friends since children are not allowed to go outside. After a while, as the weeks passed, I became scared for the safety of my family. Before lockdown happened, we were doing an activity at school during lunchtime and we were suddenly told to go home. After two days, I learned from the TV that schools had already closed through the whole country because of the pandemic.

Is the television your only source of information?

Yes, and the radio which our neighbor has because I don’t have a cellphone. My mother has one, but it’s only the one with keypad, so she cannot connect to the internet.

Do some of your neighbors have cellphones which can connect to the internet?

Yes, my aunt has, but the cellphone needs repairing. It’s what I used before to connect to the internet. What is your daily routine since lockdown happened?

I clean the house most of the day for fear that we might get infected with COVID-19 at home. After cleaning the house, I eat with my younger siblings and watch the TV. I did not know that Tacloban at the moment is COVID-19 free; I only just heard this from the Fundlife staff. Do you have communication with your friends and classmates since the lockdown?

No, I only see a few classmates when I go outside (wearing a mask) to buy something for the house.

How did you know that the enrollment for school is via online and kiosk, where boxes are installed/left in each barangay?

I just learned it from the neighbors, I have no communication outside. There is also no kiosk in place in our barangay for enrollment but I still have to enroll via online.

So you haven’t enrolled yet? Is there a computer shop in your community?

I haven’t enrolled yet. There are two computer shops in our area, but the one that’s mostly open is far from our house, it’s located at the national highway. I think I’ll visit it one of these days so I can enroll myself. The last time I went there was only in March before the lockdown.

How do you feel about the situation now, that it’s hard for you to communicate or reach the school personnel/teachers especially nowadays that social media platforms are used to give updates about school?

I feel sad, and it’s so hard. Because of the lockdown, my father who is a construction worker, had to stop working. Before the lockdown, there was always food on the table, but because of COVID, there are times that we only eat once a day.

We have no money to buy a device that connects to the internet. I just ask any classmate whom I bump into when I go outside our house, since they are the ones who are informed of school updates because they have cellphones and internet connection.

What supports the family now?

The only livelihood that supports us is my mother's small sari-sari store. Before lockdown, I also helped with the house expenses, I sold kakanin and bread in our neighborhood.

What have you been doing during lockdown to compensate for the months that you are not in school?

I read books. But most of the time I clean the house because I want it to be clean.

Did you bring home your books from school?

No. They are in school. What I read are elementary textbooks. Since I don’t have a gadget, I just watch the TV. Not much reading for a few months now.

What do you miss the most in school?

Aside from my classmates, I miss the lessons that my teacher gives, especially English as it is my favorite.

Are you excited for the resumption of classes on August 24?

Yes, I am still excited even if it will just be distance learning. I still want to learn despite the difficult time that we are facing right now.

What is your opinion about online learning? If you were to say something to the government authorities, what would it be?

I hope the government prioritizes those schoolchildren from poor communities who have no cellphones or gadgets and no access to internet connection so we will not encounter difficulties in online home learning. I hope everyone can see the situation of the poor families who do not have the financial capacity to purchase these gadgets.

How can we learn if we are not equipped with the proper tools or gadgets? If given the chance, I would prefer online, instead of modular learning. If there’s one thing that I need right now, it would be a gadget, like cellphone, which would help me in continuing my studies.

“I want to become a doctor someday, and I pray that my education will not be impeded because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Janel, 2020

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