Reopening of Metro Manila schools depends on risk assessment: DepEd

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2021 05:15 PM

Cipriano Bisco, principal of the Ricardo P. Cruz Elementary School, inspects one of the kindergarten classrooms in Taguig City on November 10, 2021. Ted Aljibe, AFP
Cipriano Bisco, principal of the Ricardo P. Cruz Elementary School, inspects one of the kindergarten classrooms in Taguig City on November 10, 2021. Ted Aljibe, AFP

MANILA— Basic education schools in Metro Manila may join the expansion phase of in-person classes next year, but this depends on the risk assessment in the capital region, the Department of Education said Tuesday.

The expansion phase is the second stage in the government's three-part plan to reopen Philippine schools after almost two years of distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Currently, only 120 schools have been allowed to hold limited in-person classes as part of the pilot phase.

"Nakahanda naman iyong listahan namin [ng schools], 'pag favorable ang risk assessment," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in an online press briefing.

(Our list of schools is ready. They can reopen if the risk assessment is favorable.)

Briones said some local government units (LGU) in Metro Manila are "quite hesitant" to bring students back to schools.

"Even in NCR (National Capital Region), there are still those who are reflecting and thinking very seriously, especially iyong areas na marami ang (especially in areas with many) schools," she said.

Briones cited Taguig as a city in the capital which is open to the idea of resuming in-person learning.

Taguig's LGU already allowed four international schools to hold physical classes but this still needs the approval of the DepEd, Briones said.

Education Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma said the DepEd was preparing for the expansion phase, which may start in January 2022, two months earlier than originally scheduled.

He added that schools from areas and regions that are excluded from the pilot phase would be prioritized in the expansion phase.

The pilot implementation of in-person classes started last Nov. 15 for public schools and Nov. 22 for private schools.