MANILA — The Department of Education is planning to hold a dry run of limited in-person classes in 120 schools once President Rodrigo Duterte allows a pilot test, an official said Thursday.
The DepEd initially planned to have only 100 schools in the dry run but added 20 more to include private schools, Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said.
"[Secretary Leonor] Briones asked for additional allocation for private schools, which explains the additional 20 from [the] original 100," Malaluan told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
"The DOH is agreeable to the addition of 20 private schools," he added in a Viber message to reporters.
There are "no identified private schools yet", said Malaluan, and the process will be disclosed "upon approval of the Joint DepEd-DOH guidelines."
The dry run is part of the DepEd's plan to gradually resume in-person classes, which are banned due to the threat of COVID-19.
Duterte has repeatedly rejected the DepEd's proposals for the dry run due to concerns of more infectious variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
In late August, senators expressed frustration at the DepEd for its weak lobbying on the proposal to hold limited face-to-face classes in areas with low risk of COVID-19 transmission.
In June, Briones said the DepEd has been assessing 300 schools for limited in-person classes. She said they heeded the request of senators to reduce the 1,900 schools initially approved by regional directors.
Philippine schools will continue to implement distance learning in the coming school year scheduled to start on Sept. 13.
As of early Thursday, 14.7 million have enrolled in basic education for School Year 2021-2022, which represent 56.4 percent of last year's total number of enrollees, according to DepEd data.
— With a report from Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News