Back to school: Guide to start of classes, return of full in-person learning

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2022 03:40 PM | Updated as of Jul 19 2022 07:28 PM

Students observe safety protocol  ABS-CBN News/File
Students observe safety protocol inside the Ricardo P Cruz St. Elementary School in Taguig City, during the first day of the pilot face-to-face classes in the National Capital Region on Dec. 6, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Last week, the Department of Education (DepEd) issued the calendar for School Year 2022 to 2023, scheduled to open on Aug. 22.

DepEd Order No. 34, which contained the calendar, also mandates all public and private schools in basic education to shift to in-person classes by November, bringing back the old learning setup before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to this, the DepEd had been undertaking a gradual reopening of schools since November 2021, implementing blended learning that combines distance learning (studying from home via modules and online classes), and in-person classes with staggered schedules and limited classroom capacity.

Here is what you need to know about the upcoming school opening and return to full in-person classes, based on DepEd Order No. 34 and pronouncements from new officials.

IMPORTANT DATES

  • July 25 - Aug. 22: Enrollment Period
  • Aug. 1-26: Brigada Eskwela
  • Aug. 15: Oplan Balik Eskwela command conference 
  • Aug. 22: Start of SY 2022-2023
  • Aug. 22 - Nov. 5: First Academic Quarter
  • Nov. 7 - Feb. 3, 2023: Second Academic Quarter
  • Dec. 19: Start of Christmas Break
  • Jan. 4, 2023: Resumption of Classes
  • Feb. 6-10: Mid-year Break
  • Feb. 13 - April 28: Third Quarter
  • May 2 - July 7: Fourth Quarter
  • July 7: End of School Year
  • July 10 - 14: End of School Year Rites

Private schools, state universities and colleges, and local universities and colleges offering basic education can "deviate" from the calendar as long as they start classes not earlier than the first Monday of June and not later than the last day of August.

When classes start on Aug. 22, schools can implement either pure distance learning, blended learning, or full (5 days per week) in-person classes.

The first week of classes will be dedicated to providing "psychosocial support" to students to help them cope with the transition from distance or blended learning to in-person classes.

FACE-TO-FACE CLASSES

Distance or blended learning will only be allowed until Oct. 31. Starting Nov. 2, "all public and private schools shall have transitioned to 5 days [per week] of in-person classes," according to the DepEd order.

The DepEd will still allow Alternative Delivery Modes which, based on a 2019 order, include homeschooling, modified in-school off-school approach, and night and open high schools.

Schools will no longer undergo inspection or submit "any additional requirements" in order to reopen for face-to-face classes.

In a press conference, Education Undersecretary Epimaco Densing said all schools must shift to full in-person classes, regardless of COVID-19 alert levels. 

The DepEd has given schools the autonomy to decide on class sizes as long as physical distancing — a measure against the spread of COVID-19 — is followed in classrooms, said Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte.

Duterte also said wearing school uniforms would not be a "strict requirement" in public schools in the coming school year.

COVID-19 GUIDELINES

The DepEd also enumerated guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 once in-person classes resume at full capacity.

  • Face masks are required. Face shields may be used in school activities requiring the entire face to be visible. 
  • Physical distancing
  • Classroom doors and windows shall be opened for ventilation. 
  • Students and school personnel are prohibited from eating together while facing each other. 
  • Students who show COVID-19 symptoms shall be excused from in-person classes and shift to distance learning, as long as they feel "well enough" to answer modules or participate in online classes. This excludes learners who are admitted to hospitals. 
  • Schools are required to have an infection control plan and containment strategy in the event of the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Schools shall not be held liable should any learner or personnel test positive for COVID-19. 

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