Amid the recent developments regarding the COVID-19 situation in the country, Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Tuesday said that the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to prepare for the eventual resumption of in-person classes.
“We’re preparing on the assumption that the health situation is improving,” Briones said in Filipino during the Laging Handa Public Briefing. “The bottom line is the situation on COVID and other variants as well as the decision of the President,” she added.
The DepEd is implementing a distance learning approach at the basic education level this school year as a response to the COVID-19 situation in the country. Lessons are being delivered to students using multiple learning modalities such as modular, online, television and radio-based and blended learning.
“But we have been preparing and we already have plans,” Briones said. “If the health issue has been addressed – since the safety of children is primordial – we can apply the planned pilot studies, among others,” she added.
In December, DepEd recommended to President Duterte to allow the conduct of pilot implementation or dry-run of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas on a limited scale and under strict health and safety measures.
DepEd, then, noted that face-to-face classes “remain a necessity for education” since the “social aspect of learning where students are able to interact with their teachers and classmates cannot be fully replaced by distance learning modalities.”
They said pilot implementation was supposed to take place this January. While it was initially approved by the President, he decided to recall his decision amid the threat of the new coronavirus variant.
Briones said that in the meantime, DepEd is monitoring the development related to COVID-19 and the decision of the President to protect the children and teachers. “It’s hard to tell now [when the face-to-face classes will resume] because what determines this, largely, is the state of danger or threat that COVID still poses to our children and teachers,” she ended.