Opening of in-person classes 'peaceful, orderly': DepEd

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2022 11:04 AM | Updated as of Aug 23 2022 12:52 PM

Students and parents flock to Commonwealth Elementary School in Quezon City on the first day of face-to-face classes in all levels on August 22, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Students and parents flock to Commonwealth Elementary School in Quezon City on the first day of face-to-face classes in all levels on August 22, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The opening of school year 2022-2023 nationwide Monday was peaceful and orderly, the Department of Education said.

Millions of mask-wearing students returned to schools across the country after 2 years of distance learning due to COVID-19. Some 28 million learners are enrolled this year.

"Based on the reports given to us by the regional directors yesterday, we've been monitoring the situation since around 4 or 5 a.m., maayos naman po ang naging pagbabalik-eskuwela natin," DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa told ANC Tuesday.

"It was very orderly. It was very peaceful."

To address the country's perennial classroom shortage, Poa said schools employed class shifting schedules and blended learning.

The country lacks 91,000 classrooms for the school year, he said.

DepEd has proposed a budget of P86.5 billion for 2023 for the construction of classrooms.

"We're hoping to use that money para mabawasan na natin ang classroom shortage. We can start constructing new classrooms next year," Poa said.

He added the agency is considering making blended learning a permanent part of the country's educational system.

In light of complaints about crammed classrooms, DepEd will not be issuing for now prescribed guidelines for the number of students allowed in a classroom.

"This is because we wanted to give the schools the flexibility because each school is unique," Poa said. "We wanted the schools to have a free hand to determine how they can implement 'yung ating minimum health and safety standards."

Despite fears of COVID-19 transmission, the agency stressed the return of face-to-face classes was meant to close the learning gap.

"We really need to bring our students back in school to close that learning gap that we experienced for the 2 years that these kids were out of school," Poa said.

The new school year started Aug. 22, with academic institutions allowed to implement distance or blended learning until Oct. 31.

Starting Nov. 2, all schools will be required to shift to in-person classes.

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