DepEd says it’s now ‘fairly safe’ to start limited in-person classes

Published September 27, 2021, 5:12 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Monday, Sept. 27, expressed confidence that the conduct of limited face-to-face classes, particularly in low risk areas, will be more ideal at this time due to continued vaccination against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


“Now that we are starting in the middle of the most aggressive campaign for the vaccination of our teachers and the rest of our citizens, it is now fairly safe for us to start the pilot study,” said Briones during the ceremonial signing on the joint memorandum circular for the pilot implementation of face-to-face learning between DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH).

Since last year, DepEd has been proposing the implementation of limited in-person classes despite the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to the threats of new variants, the proposal to pilot limited face-to-face classes was not approved.

With the growing clamor to reopen schools over a year into the pandemic, President Duterte finally approved the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes on Sept. 20.

“After one and a half year of planning, of monitoring, of discussions, we finally are starting our pilot testing of 100 public schools and 20 private schools as far as they pass the assessment test of standards of the DOH at this point of time,” Briones said.

‘Let the pilot begin’

Briones said that DepEd is “practically on a daily basis consulting” with the DOH, other sectors of government, experts in pediatric medicine to ensure the safety of children, of teachers, and of communities during the pilot run.


Safe pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes assured by DepEd, DOH

“Our duty is to see to it to make sure that we secure the consent of the local government units where the pilot studies will be conducted,” Briones said.

DepEd, Briones added, also wanted make sure that the parents give the written consent to the participation of their children during the two-month pilot study.


Attending limited face-to-face classes will be voluntary, DepEd says

Briones also explained that part of DepEd’s responsibility is to ensure that the classrooms and facilities — which will be utilized for the said pilot study — will “conform to the standards and the risk assessments” of the DOH.

“Finally, we are campaigning for the full cooperation of the public, especially those who render services to the schools like transportation, canteens, books, uniforms and all goods which are utilized in the education process,” she added.

Briones noted that the signing of the JMC is “really a great day” because one-and-a-half year of planning, of discussions, of monitoring, and of inevitable debates and “now we are ready to start, we are ready to sign the agreement” between the DOH and the DepEd.