MANILA—The Department of Education recommended the expansion of face-to-face classes in areas under COVID-19 Alert Levels 1 and 2 by February.
Education Sec. Leonor Briones, in her report to President Rodrigo Duterte, said the expansion will be progressive, which means only schools in areas considered low risk for COVID-19 infections will be allowed to resume face-to-face classes.
"Hindi 'yung lahat lahat, sabay sabay. Kung ang isang lugar ay Alert Level 1 and 2, selective, pwedeng mag-expand ng face-to-face," Briones said.
(It will not be implemented for all at the same time. If an area is under Alert Level 1 and 2, it will be selective, and they can expand the face-to-face classes.)
Briones said the expansion of in-person classes will start not earlier than the first week of February.
Parents' consent and the concurrence of local government units will be required, too, she added.
"February ang pag-eexpand, pero maingat pa rin, taking into consideration the advice of the Department of Health, the LGUs, and now the Department of Justice," Briones explained.
(We will expand by February, but we will be very careful, taking into consideration the advice of the Department of Health, the LGUs, and now the Department of Justice.)
Briones said only vaccinated teaching and non-teaching personnel will participate in the face-to-face classes.
Participation by vaccinated students shall also be preferred.
Twenty-eight public schools in Metro Manila joined face-to-face classes in December but the pilot program was suspended earlier this month, as COVID-19 cases spiked in the region.
Limited face-to-face classes continued in other areas under COVID-19 Alert 2.
The DepEd has given schools and local education officials leeway to suspend classes for up to 2 weeks to cope with the ongoing spike in coronavirus infections.