In order to avoid possible logistical concerns, the Department of Education (DepEd) intends to finish the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes before the national and local elections in May 2020.
“I think we would have finished pilot by then,” DepEd Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Nepomuceno Malaluan told the Manila Bulletin when asked what will happen if the schools included in the pilot run will be used as polling precincts.
As announced previously, DepEd will include 120 schools – 95 public elementary schools, five public Senior High Schools (SHS) and 20 private elementary schools – in the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes in low risk areas.
The pilot run, as approved by President Duterte, will be conducted for two months. DepEd has yet to announce when the pilot implementation of limited-to-face classes will start.
However, in a virtual press briefing on Oct. 1, officials of DepEd said that the list of the participating schools will be released as soon as the regional officials have been informed.
“Ninais natin na ang unang makatanggap ng balitang iyan ay ang ating regional directors dahil baka meron silang katanungan o clarification dito sa naging risk assessment (We want our regional directors to be the first to receive that news because they may have questions or clarifications on the risk assessment,” Malaluan said.
Once finalized, Malaluan said that DepEd will be ready to disclose the identified schools to the public.
Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary for Field Operations Revsee Escobedo said that DepEd has been preparing for the pilot run of limited face-to-face classes.
“On Monday, we will hold a meeting with DepEd Regional Directors and DOH [Department of Health] for selecting schools that will participate in the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes,” he added.
While the pilot run will only be conducted in the chosen regions, Malaluan urged the stakeholders and general public to support its implementation.
“Gusto talaga natin na masiguro na maayos itong magiging pilot natin dahil nakasalalay dito iyong expansion (We really want to make sure that this will be implemented properly because the expansion [limited face-to-face classes in other areas] depends on this),” he said.
To support the pilot of face-to-face classes, DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla explained that there will be a budget allocated for the participating schools should they need additional assistance.
Sevilla said that even in the absence of face-to-face classes, schools were given additional maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) for the opening of a new school year.
DepEd, Sevilla said, will be closely monitoring all the participating schools and if they need additional funds, the “contingency MOOE” from the Central Office may be utilized.