DepEd asks schools to prepare for expansion of in-person classes

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2021 05:59 PM

Officials from the Department of Education inspected on November 4, 2021 Tamulaya Elementary School in Quezon province, one of the 100 public schools that will join the pilot implementation of in-person classes starting Nov. 15. Photo courtesy of DepEd
Officials from the Department of Education inspected on November 4, 2021 Tamulaya Elementary School in Quezon province, one of the 100 public schools that will join the pilot implementation of in-person classes starting Nov. 15. Photo courtesy of DepEd

MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday urged schools to start retrofitting their facilities in preparation for the implementation of limited in-person classes.

"We cannot do it na after we have asked for the expansion, saka pa lamang mag-uumpisa," Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said in a press briefing during a school inspection in Polillo Island, Quezon.

(We cannot do it like after we have asked for the expansion of in-person classes, that's the only time when schools will start preparing.)

This November, the DepEd will begin a two-month pilot implementation of limited in-person classes in 120 schools from areas considered "low risk" to COVID-19.

The pilot implementation is the first in a 3-phased plan to get Philippine schools to return to physical classes, which have been banned for nearly 2 years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the DepEd's timeline, the second "expansion" phase, under which more schools or grade levels will be holding classroom sessions, is set to start by March 2022.

Malaluan said the pilot phase would focus on getting lessons during the preparation for in-person classes and actual classroom sessions.

It will also look into how schools will respond to potential COVID-19 infections, he said.

"We have to see how our guidelines and our partnership and coordination are able to deal with these contingencies," he said.

Malaluan said the DepEd was also looking into the possibility of using the new COVID-19 alert system in determining which schools would participate in the expanded phase.

For the pilot phase, the DepEd and Department of Health took a "granular, school-by-school risk assessment."

The DepEd will report the findings of the pilot phase to the Office of the President.