MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) is planning to issue safety seals to schools, which will indicate that the learning institutions are compliant with COVID-19 health protocols, an official said Tuesday.
DepEd Planning Service Director Roger Masapol said a safety seal would also signal that a school was ready to join the expanded phase of limited in-person classes, which is expected to start by March 2022.
But Masapol clarified that the safety seals do not necessarily mean that a school can immediately hold in-person classes because they still need to get clearance from the DepEd and Department of Health.
"Iyong pagbibigay ng safety seal ay gagawin natin ito para ipakita na ang school natin, kahit 'di pa sila magpa-pilot [in-person classes], ay ready na sa next phase, iyong expansion," he said in an online press conference.
(The issuance of a safety seal, we will do this to show that a school, even though they won't join the pilot run of in-person classes, is ready for the next phase, the expansion phase.)
Once authorized to issue safety seals, the DepEd will first give the signs to the 100 public schools participating in the pilot phase of limited in-person classes, Masapol said.
Masapol said DepEd officials have already met with officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to talk about safety seals.
The DTI issues safety seals for businesses to assure customers that the establishments meet health standards in curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Last week, the DepEd urged public schools to start retrofitting their facilities in preparation for the expansion phase of physical classes.
The pilot run of in-person classes, which will start on Nov. 15 for public schools and Nov. 22 for private schools, is the first in the government's three-phased plan to reopen Philippine schools that have been closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19.
Schools have since shifted to implementing distance learning, under which students learn from their homes through modules, online classes and educational programs aired over radio and television.