After repeated attempts, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday, Sept. 20, has finally received the approval of President to pilot limited face-to-face in basic education to be participated in 120 select public and private schools.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, during the press briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday, Sept. 20, welcomed the President’s decision as the DepEd moves to finalize and fine-tune the guidelines it has prepared early on.
While the approval of the limited face-to-face classes in low risk areas is a welcome development, Briones noted that the conduct of in-person classes will not be implemented the way the public is used to.
“Ang face-to-face na konsepto ngayon, iba sa face-to-face na kilala natin (The face-to-face concept today is different from the face-to-face we know),” Briones said.
In particular, Briones said that face-to-face classes will observe “stringent health standards and extreme precautions” in the participating schools identified by DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH).
Moreover, Briones said that the limited face-to-face classes will not be implemented in all schools.
“There will be a maximum of 100 public schools located in areas categorized as minimal risk” are targeted for the pilot in-person classes. “They should have passed the readiness assessment,” she added.
Meanwhile, Briones noted that additional 20 private schools will also be allowed to participate bu these will be “subject to joint validation” to be conducted by DepEd and DOH.
Briones added that learners and class sizes will also different. “Ini-schedule ito nang husto at strictly monitored pati ‘yong kilos ng mga bata (It will be scheduled closely and strictly monitored as well as the actions of the children),” she added.
Based on the guidelines, Briones said that only 12 learners will be allowed to attend in Kindergarten while 16 learners for Grades 1 to 3.
In SHS, only 20 technical-vocational students will be allowed to attend limited in-person learning in its pilot run.
Briones explained that the teaching and learning approach will also be different.
In Kindergarten to Grade 3, for instance, a maximum of three hours will be allowed. SHS students will be allowed to stay longer in schools or a maximum of up to hours maximum of in-person learning.
Briones said that limited face-to-face classes will not be held everyday. It will be done in “alternating weeks” since blended learning remains in place for School Year (SY) 2021-2022.