MANILA (UPDATE) — The Department of Education said Thursday an additional 177 public schools, including 28 from Metro Manila, are joining the pilot implementation of in-person classes.
Last November, 100 public and 18 private schools resumed in-person classes as part of the dry run, following nearly two years of closures and distance learning due to the threat of COVID-19.
The Metro Manila schools will start their in-person classes on Monday, Dec. 6, while most schools from the other regions have already returned to classroom instruction this week, said DepEd Public Affairs Service Director June Arvin Gudoy.
"Marami na nag-umpisa this week (Many have started classes this week)... as long as they are given clearance to proceed and safety assessment is done," he told ABS-CBN News, referring to the schools in the other regions.
Only Pateros among the 17 localities in Metro Manila will not join the pilot implementation, based on the DepEd's list of additional schools.
Schools in the capital region have conducted dry runs in recent weeks to prepare for the resumption of in-person classes.
Similar to the initial 100 public schools, each of the additional 177 schools received an additional funding of P100,000, said Annalyn Sevilla, DepEd's undersecretary for finance.
The pilot study is the first in the government's three-phased plan to resume in-person learning in basic education. The second "expansion" phase, under which more schools or grade level can hold physical classes, will begin in early 2022.
The ongoing pilot implementation only allows physical classes in Kindergarten to Grade 3 and senior high school.
The DepEd previously urged all schools to prepare their facilities for in-person classes even if they are not part of the pilot phase.
Some 27.2 million students are enrolled this school year in both public and private schools from Kindergarten until high school.