MANILA - The Department of Education said Monday it was continuing its work to prepare for possible limited in-person classes in areas deemed low-risk of COVID-19 transmission.
"The Department of Education will continue to do the preparations even as we await the final approval of the holding of limited face-to-face [classes]," Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio told ANC.
"We will implement the decision but we will continue to make preparations so that the moment we are allowed to do this, we will be able to do it immediately."
In a press briefing Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte rejected again the holding of face-to-face classes even as the country begun its COVID-19 vaccination program.
He said the reopening of select schools would "place the children in jeopardy."
San Antonio stressed that face-to-face classes should be a shared responsibility by DepEd, local officials and other stakeholders.
"We also reminded our field officials, the principals and superintendents to collaborate closely with local government units because we feel that any attempt to do this has to be an effort not only of schools but it should be a collaboration," he said.
Should it push through, San Antonio said they were looking into fitting at least 15 students per classroom. Stringent health measures such as mandatory wearing of face masks and observing physical distancing will be imposed by the agency.
Classes in public schools in the country opened in October under a blended distance learning system due to the continuing threat of COVID-19.
Under the blended learning system, students receive lessons through printed or offline modules, online learning and television or radio-based instruction.
The government was supposed to conduct a dry run in January but the President cancelled it, citing concerns over a more infectious variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the respiratory illness.
Over 1,000 out of 60,000 schools nationwide were supposed to be part of the pilot study.