Following the approval of the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes in 120 schools, the Department of Education (DepEd) clarified that this will be on a voluntary basis.
DepEd, in a statement issued Sept. 20, said that participating schools must have the “written support and consent of parents” of students who shall participate in the pilot.
For the pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes, DepEd said that 100 public schools or 95 elementary schools and five Senior High Schools (SHS) will participate along with 20 elementary private schools.
“No learner shall be forced to attend the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes,” DepEd said.
Based on the guidelines of DepEd, the pilot will be conducted with a combination of face-to-face classes in school and distance learning modalities for two months.
“Face-to-face classes shall be conducted half-day every other week, with participating schools ensuring that class schedules are arranged equitably so that all qualified learners have the opportunity to attend face-to-face classes,” DepEd said.
Prepared by DOH and DepEd and with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other organizations specializing in children’s health, DepEd said that the operational guidelines on the pilot implementation of face-to-face learning modality “provide health and safety standards” in terms of personal protective equipment, sanitation, detection and referral, ventilation, contact tracing, and quarantine, coordination, and contingency measures.
The guidelines also listed steps to prepare school personnel, learners, and the community before the school reopening.
“As we made a step towards Ligtas na Balik Eskwela (safe return to schools), we encourage our stakeholders to continue the ‘bayanihan’ for the success of this endeavor and the safety of our teachers and learners,” DepEd added.