An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday confirmed the agency is set to present next week a proposal suggesting limited face-to-face classes to President Duterte.
According to Undersecretary Jesus Mateo, Education Secretary Leonor Briones herself will present the proposal to the President “on Monday.”
During a “Laging Handa” public briefing on Thursday, Briones revealed proposals and suggestions asking DepEd to allow face-to-face classes especially in low risk areas have been relayed to the President and were discussed with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
While DepEd is open to these proposals, Briones maintained limited face-to-face classes – if approved – will be applicable only for schools in low risk areas that could accommodate social distancing; with regular supply of water; proper ventilation; hand-washing facilities; and with adequate supply of medicines for both students and teachers.
“It does not mean that all those in low risk assessment can do this,” she said. “There should be a careful evaluation before we allow a limited face-to-face sessions.”
Private schools have expressed support of the initiative.
Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) Managing Director Atty. Joseph Noel Estrada told the Manila Bulletin, “We are happy discussions are initiated on this so that we can start with all needed preparations.”
COCOPEA, which is composed of more than 2,500 educational institutions in the country, has conducted a separate study on limited face-to-face classes which they have already presented to the Senate and the IATF.
Estrada believes limited face-to-face classes should be backed up by “operational and structural plans” even if they are to be implemented only in schools in low risk areas.
“We should be able to benchmark from international examples which include strategies on shifting; isolation; resurgence planning; and even starting with higher age groups and in batches,” he ended.