On Wednesday, education officials announced that 100 public schools would make a limited return to classes this month.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Department of Education’s pilot program to resume face-to-face classes on November 15.
Since the coronavirus outbreak last year, the Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that has yet to resume in-person learning.
In the first round, 100 public schools and 20 private institutions would be permitted. These should fall into the Department of Health’s “low-risk” regions, and they must be approved by local governments.
“We are all set and we have completed this,”said Education Secretary Leonor Briones in Filipino at a government briefing.
“We can extend and include more schools depending on the result,”Briones further said.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said on Wednesday, November 3, that the participating schools are from the following regions:
- Ilocos – 10
- Central Luzon – 10
- Calabarzon – 5
- Bicol – 9
- Western Visayas – 3
- Central Visayas – 8
- Eastern Visayas – 10
- Zamboanga Peninsula – 8
- Northern Mindanao – 10
- Davao Region – 8
- Soccsksargen – 5
- Caraga – 14
She stated that they are still looking for 20 private schools to participate in the pilot run of in-person classes. Furthermore, face-to-face classes will commence in public schools on November 15 and in private institutions on November 22.
She further said that they have already obtained approval from the individual local government entities, as well as the assent of the parents whose children would participate in the pilot program.
Briones also ensured the safety of both faculty and students in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. She stated that 90 percent of the school personnel involved in the pilot program have already received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccinations.
Despite the fact that the DOH has already classified the National Capital Region as low risk, no schools are permitted to participate in the pilot program.
Coronavirus incidences in Metro Manila have continued to fall months after a catastrophic outbreak that led the city to go into lockdown.
According to the education chief, schools in this area may be considered for the second batch or when the pilot program is expanded.
The DepEd previously stated that, as a precautionary measure, teachers participating in face-to-face classes should be completely immunized.
According to DepEd Director Malcolm Garma, 317 of the 444 school workers at the participating institutions had received full vaccinations.
The pilot program will be evaluated at the end of December and will conclude on January 31, 2022.
After evaluating and assessing the initial pilot run, the DepEd will present to President Rodrigo Duterte the expansion of in-person classes, which will begin on March 7, 2022.