Several schools are no longer included in the list of those that will participate in the pilot study of limited face-to-face classes scheduled to start next month, the Department of Education (DepEd) said.
“As far as we know, there are those that backed out under some local governments because if your number changes, the risk assessment changes — they also adjust their perspective on the pilot face-to-face, but these are just a few,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino during a public briefing on Oct. 25.
Briones said that some local government units (LGUs) “recalled concurrence due to changing COVID-risk level.” Meanwhile, there are also some schools that “did not pass” the School Safety Assessment Tool by DepEd.
Based on the latest data from DepEd, there are 90 public schools already identified to push through with the pilot face-to-face classes in November.
DepEd needs to identify 10 more schools to complete the 100 public schools — 95 elementary and five senior high schools (SHS) — originally included in the 120 schools for the pilot run. The 20 remaining schools will be from the private education sector.
While some schools or LGUs backed out, Briones said that there are also local executives who continue to reach out to DepEd for their areas to be included in the pilot run.
“There are local governments, because their numbers and their statistics are improving, they write directly to me that they want to have face-to-face [classes],” Briones said.
Meanwhile, Briones also recognized that some parents might have decided to recall their decision to allow their children to participate in the pilot study.
“Of course, we understand the concern of parents because they are only looking after the welfare and also the safety of their children,” Briones said.
To appease the concerns of parents, Briones cited some international and local studies which show that children are “more resilient” to COVID-19.
“But we should not also take things for granted because they can pick-up the virus in other places so we really need the cooperation of parents, transport service providers, etc. — not just those at school,” she stressed.
There were 638 schools selected from an initial list endorsed by the regions, which was evaluated by the DOH Epidemiology Bureau.
DepEd said that in line with the granular risk assessment of schools conducted by the DOH EB, there are 329 schools that passed the assessment as minimal or low risk.
As of Oct. 25, DepEd has identified 90 schools that will be pushing through with the pilot implementation of in-person classes on Nov. 15.
The selection process for the private schools is still ongoing. The pilot run for private schools is scheduled on Nov. 22.