Regardless of its form, Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Tuesday, June 15, assured that education will continue for millions of Filipino learners as the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to prepare for the opening of a new school year amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the country.
Briones, during the Laging Handa public briefing, said that the DepEd is “ready” and has been preparing for the opening of School Year (SY) 2021-2022 as it monitors the recent developments related to COVID-19.
“Patuloy ang pag-open ng schools, pero walang face-to-face [classes] kung sakali mang considered dangerous itong bagong variant na ito (We will continue to open the schools but there will be no face-to-face [classes] just in case the new variant has been considered dangerous),” Briones said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philippine schools have remained closed since March 2020.
However, DepEd was able to open SY 2020-2021 in October but the distance learning set-up was implemented for students at the basic education level.
Briones said DepEd has been constantly monitoring the implementation of distance learning this school year.
She added that necessary adjustments have also been made to address the concerns raised by stakeholders – learners, parents, and teachers alike.
Recognizing that face-to-face classes remain crucial for students’ overall growth and development, DepEd has also proposed the conduct of limited face-to-face classes in low risk areas since last year.
However, due to the detection of new COVID-19 variants, the proposed pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes remains postponed.
With the ongoing vaccination rollout, the clamor for the resumption of face-to-face classes on a limited basis, continues to grow.
While DepEd has been pushing for the implementation of limited face-to-face classes in low risk areas, Briones said that the decision on the matter remains with President Duterte.
As DepEd awaits for the final approval coming from the President and other concerned agencies on the implementation of limited in-person classes, Briones assured the public that the agency is “ready” to open a new school year – whether through face-to-face classes or through other alternative learning delivery modalities.
Without face-to-face classes this SY 2020-2021, lessons are delivered to students through modular learning (printed and offline); online learning; TV and radio-based instruction; or blended learning which is a combination of two or more modes of learning.