DepEd ready to hold limited in-person classes

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 03 2021 12:32 PM | Updated as of Nov 03 2021 02:34 PM

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MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) is prepared to implement the two-month pilot run of limited in-person classes in select schools, Secretary Leonor Briones said Wednesday.

The pilot phase, which starts on Nov. 15 for public schools and Nov. 22 for private schools, marks the first step of the Philippine basic education system's return to classroom instruction nearly 2 years since the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close and shift to distance learning.

Briones said the DepEd has completed the list of 100 public schools allowed by President Rodrigo Duterte to join the dry run.

The agency is still in the process of identifying the 20 participating private schools, which is expected to be completed and publicized by Nov. 12.

"Handang-handa na tayo. Kung ano ang resulta nitong pilot study, puwede nating i-extend ito at lalong paramihin natin ang mga eskuwelahan na magkaroon ng face-to-face classes," Briones said at the Laging Handa public briefing.

(We're ready. Whatever the result of the pilot study is, we can extend it so more schools can hold face-to-face classes.)

"Lahat ng paraan ginamit natin to assure the safety of the students," she said.

(We've done everything to assure the safety of the students.)

Briones said COVID-19 vaccination among teaching and non-teaching personnel joining the pilot run was "very, very high," though she was unable to cite specific figures.

Under the guidelines, only vaccinated school personnel are allowed to participate in the pilot implementation.

Briones added that schools in Metro Manila, which has seen lower COVID-19 infections in the past weeks, may start holding in-person classes after the pilot phase.

"Sa tingin ko, siguro by the second batch kasi nakapili na tayo ng 100 [participating schools]," she said when she was asked if schools in the capital region can also hold classroom sessions.

(I think probably they can join the second batch because we've already selected the 100 participating schools.)

Education Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma, meanwhile, said the DepEd has identified 57 private schools that would undergo "evaluation" to see if they are eligible to participate in the dry run.


Briones also clarified that schools would continue to implement distance learning modalities — such as the use of printed and digital modules, and DepEd TV — even with the resumption of in-person classes.

"Hindi ibig sabihin na gini-give up natin ang ibang modalities kasi ang blended learning naman talaga ay halo iyan ng face-to-face at ibang pamamaraan [tulad ng] paggamit ng modules," she explained.

(We're not giving up our other modalities because in blended learning, schools really mix face-to-face classes with other methods like the use of modules.)

The DepEd is pushing for the conduct of limited in-person classes as it acknowledged the limitations of distance learning, under which teachers and students face problems such as uneven access to gadgets and the internet.