Face-to-face classes: 120 schools approved by President Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte approved the re-opening of limited face-to-face classes of 120 schools nationwide in areas considered to be low-risk for Covid-19 transmissions, the Palace announced on Monday, September 20, 2021.

While other countries have already re-opened their face-to-face classes (partially or fully), the Philippines is still in the process of whether the proposals will be approved or not.

“We have to pilot face-to-face (classes) because this is not just an issue for education, it’s an issue for the children’s mental health,” Secretary Harry Roque said to reporters.

“It’s also an issue for the economy because we might lose a generation if we don’t have face-to-face (classes),” he added.

As per approved guidelines by President Duterte which both validated by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Health (DOH), up to one hundred (100) public schools in areas considered to be minimal-risk will be allowed for the pilot trial for two (2) months and an additional twenty (20) private schools will also be participating.

Meanwhile, the DepEd has not yet disclosed the lists of approved schools that will participate in the two-months trial.

Secretary Harry Roque said that the limited face-to-face classes will be held every other week with half-day classes only.

“Ito pa ay hindi lang issue ng edukasyon. Ito po ay issue na rin ng mental health at ekonomiya,” he said

Classrooms re-opening will be limited in numbers for children in kindergarten, to grade three (3), and also to technical vocational senior high school students.

  • Kindergarten – limited only to 12 students
  • Grade 1 to 3 – limited only to 16 students
  • Senior High School under technical-vocational courses – limited only to 20 students

Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones has not yet announced what schools were included and when the pilot testing for limited face-to-face will begin but once the agency received instructions from the president, they will immediately implement it.

“The pilot run of limited face-to-face classes is a shared responsibility of the DepEd, Department of Health, with the approval of IATF, and the local government units themselves and the parents. This will be monitored for two months,” Secretary Briones said.

“If the pilot class is safe, if it is effective, then we will gradually increase it,” she added.

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