While it is currently implementing a distance learning set-up amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) maintained that the conduct of face-to-face classes remains a possibility – especially in low risk areas.
“We are not removing that possibility because we know that we cannot solve the mental health [issues] of children if there’s no face-to-face,” said Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua during the virtual consultative meeting with school heads and division superintendents in Sorsogon on Nov. 11.
During the meeting, a personnel raised concerns on the absence of in-person classes noting that there are some subjects that need to be taught in a face-to-face setting. Pascua responded by saying that the DepEd recognizes the importance of face-to-face learning.
“Kung DepEd lang ang tatanungin, ang posisyon ng DepEd talaga ay gusto natin may face-to-face, kahit limited face-to-face kaya lang may national policy tayo, so susunod muna tayo sa national policy. (If DepEd will be asked, our position really is that we want face-to-face [classes] even limited face-to-face but we have a national policy on this that’s why we have to adhere to it first),” Pascua explained.
While learning is essentially home-based this school year, Pascua said that DepEd and other agencies are also discussing the possibility of holding face-to-face classes in some areas – especially in places classified as “low risk.”
Aside from the national policy, Pascua noted that there are other considerations should face-to-face classes be implemented at this time. “The conduct of face-to-face [classes] has vulnerability because we do not know what will happen next,” he explained.
“We’re having consultations on this and later on, the results of these consultations will be relayed to the President and IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] if it’s possible to hold limited face-to-face classes,” he said. “Now, we’re in the process of consultation and we also have position papers on this but we have to adhere at this time there should be no face-to-face because that’s the national policy,” he added.
President Duterte in May announced that he will not allow the conduct of face-to-face classes until a vaccine against COVID-19 is found. To ensure that education of millions of learners will continue, DepEd opened the new school year on Oct. 5 under a distance/blended learning set-up.
In lieu of in-person classes, students at the basic education level receive lessons at their respective homes through printed or offline modules, online learning and television or radio-based instruction.