The government could implement a shorter period for face-to-face classes if President Duterte approves the dry run for such instruction in select schools, Malacañang said Friday.
According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, in-person classes could be held a few hours a week instead of the full week schedule of students.
“Hindi naman sinabi na palibhasa face-to-face, iyan po ay eight hours, five days a week (Face-to-face classes do not necessarily mean eight hours, five days a week),” Roque said over state television Friday, Feb 19.
“Pupuwede namang one hour per week or three hours per week basta mayroon lang pong kombinasyon ng module, ng computer-aided at saka face-to-face kung kinakailangan makipag-ugnayan sa mga guro (It can be held one hour per week or three hours per week as long as there there is a combination of module, computer-aided and face-to-face learning if the students need to interact with teachers),” he added.
The resumption of the pilot face-to-face classes in areas with low coronavirus risk is one of the recommendations by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in line with its push for the further safe reopening of the economy. The NEDA recommendations, including placing the country under the most relaxed community quarantine level, will be discussed by the President and the Cabinet in a meeting next Monday.
Last December, the President directed the education department to put on hold the planned trial run of face-to-face classes following the detection of a new coronavirus strain.
The trial run of the face-to-face classes was supposed to be held in select schools located in low-risk areas last January subject to health protocols. The participation of the students would have been voluntary with the necessary permit issued by the permits.
In his remarks Friday, Roque echoed Education Secretary Leonor Briones’ statement that the Philippines was the only country in the region that has yet to resume face-to-face learning during the pandemic.
“Pero ngayong naintindihan na natin itong new variant na ito at mukha namang wala pa tayong community transmission sa new variant ay bubuhayin muli ang pag-uusap tungkol sa face-to-face (Now that we understand the new variant and we don’t seem to have a community transmission of the new variant, the discussion on the face-to-face classes will be revived),” he said.