MANILA (UPDATE) — The Department of Education (DepEd) said Monday it expects all schools to hold limited in-person classes in the next academic year.
"Sa next academic, school year, ine-expect natin na full 100 percent na talaga ang pag-implement ng face-to-face [classes]," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said at the Laging Handa public briefing.
(In the next academic, school year, we expect a full, 100 percent implementation of face-to-face classes.)
Asked to clarify what Briones meant with the "100 percent" implementation, Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said they are urging all schools to hold physical classes.
San Antonio said the classroom sessions would still complement remote learning modalities.
"Hinihikayat na natin ang lahat ng paaralan na magsagawa ng face-to-face classes pero tinitingnan namin na blended. May face-to-face na mga araw, at may araw na papayagan na nasa mga bahay pa rin natututo ang mga bata," he explained.
(We're encouraging all of our schools to do face-to-face classes but what we're looking at is blended learning. There are days when students attend face-to-face classes, and days when they are studying from their homes.)
Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo said the DepEd has received requests to allow more grade levels to hold in-person classes and increase the number of students who are physically present in the classroom.
"Ito ay dapat pag-usapan nang mahusay. Dapat alinsunod pa rin sa IATF protocols," he said, referring to the inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 pandemic response.
(This should be talked about thorougly. It should still follow IATF protocols.)
Briones reported that as of May 26, up to 34,238 public and private schools across the country have been nominated to hold limited in-person classes. She did not say how many are actually conducting physical classes.
In a statement, Kabataan Party-list urged the next DepEd secretary and members of the incoming 19th Congress to ensure sufficient funding for the implementation of limited in-person classes in all schools.
The youth party said the government needs to allot at least P184 billion for a "safe and inclusive" reopening of schools.
Kabataan plans to refile the Safe School Reopening Bill, which it filed last year, in the 19th Congress "as an urgent measure."
The DepEd is planning to start the next school year on August 23.
The government banned in-person classes in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and allowed gradual resumption only in late 2021.
Video courtesy of PTV