The proposed face-to-face pilot run for Kinder to Grade 3 students is “backed” by medical expert, according to an official of the Department of Education (DepEd).
In an interview on CNN Philippines Tuesday night, Sept. 7, DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the pilot run will prioritize the first key stage from Kindergarten to Grade 3 “as advised by medical experts.”
“This is going to happen in areas with minimal risk and this age group is actually the age group that the medical experts have found based on the data to be the most resilient so far from COVID transmission,” he maintained.
Malaluan said the Department of Health and DepEd, along with medical experts have developed comprehensive guidelines that include all the safety precautions for the schools.
“This can only be happening in areas known to be of minimal risk category, that’s the lowest category of any place and the readiness of the school,” he reiterated.
However, Malaluan revealed that the Education department has yet to identify private schools that will participate in the pilot test.
“We have 638 [public] schools that is constantly being monitored for which the 100 [schools targeted] are going to be taken at any time that the President allows for the face-to-face to happen,” he continued.
“We have to be very careful, we also have to listen to the prescription of the DOH and our medical experts,” Malaluan added.
The DepEd undersecretary said there is a “small number” of senior high school students from technical vocational courses that have been allowed by the Department’s health expert to also participate in the pilot test.
At least 120 public and private schools are targeted to participate in the conduct of face-to-face classes, which is still subject to the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Philippines is one of the five countries in the world that have not started in-person classes since the pandemic began.