As the government slowly eased community quarantine restrictions in many areas, Education Secretary Leonor Briones has maintained that the decision to hold limited and strictly controlled face-to-face classes in places with low risk classification still depends on President Duterte.
Briones, during the “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” virtual press briefing of the Department of Education (DepEd), said that holding in-person classes will have to be decided upon by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the local government executives, and “ultimately, by the President himself because it was his directive not to hold face-to-face classes.”
Briones said that the IATF, which the DepEd is a part of, regularly monitors and reviews risk assessment classification in various areas. While classifications in certain areas may change, she noted that DepEd cannot decide on allowing the conduct of limited in-person classes alone.
“We are considering and looking at the possibilities of limited, strictly monitored, and regulated face-to-face in certain places pero nasa local government iyan, nasa IATF and in the end, ang final analysis ay nasa Presidente kasi sa kanya nanggaling ‘yung mandato na ayaw niya ng face-to-face na approach sa learning,” Briones added.
DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan said that the agency continues to monitor developments regarding the school opening this year.
“We are now a few weeks into the school opening and as you can see, it is a combination of learning continuity and challenges given the new way to deliver education,” Malaluan said. “We continue to make calibrations in relation to learning delivery at this time,” he added.
DepEd national enrollment data as of Oct. 23 showed that there are 25.01 million enrollees for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 – 22.73 million students in public schools and 2.22 million in private schools.
Citing the results of initial sharing of observations in the recent weeks, Malaluan said that “there are continuing issues that we are deliberating towards calibration” especially for the succeeding quarters this school year.
Classes for SY 2020-2021 officially started last Oct. 5.
Without face-to-face conduct of classes, students are studying inside their homes through multiple learning delivery modalities under distance learning such as modular (printed and offline), online, TV and radio-based instructions. Some are under blended learning in which two or more modalities are combined while others are also under homeschooling.