DepEd welcomes authority to decide on expansion of pilot face-to-face classes

Published November 16, 2021, 3:54 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Tuesday, Nov. 16, announced that the Department of Education (DepEd) has been allowed by the President to make important decisions on expanding the pilot study of limited face-to-face classes.

Dumalneg Elementary School in Ilocos Norte welcomes students during the first day of the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes (Photo: DepEd Tayo Ilocos Norte Facebook Page)

Briones, in a virtual press briefing, shared that the DepEd wrote a letter to the President asking him to allow the agency along with the Department of Health (DOH) to make their own assessment when it comes to expanding the pilot face-to-face classes that would cover more schools and students.

“This is good news because we will not be going back and forth,” Briones said. “He gave us an authority [to decide] which is very, very important,” she added.

Briones said that the latest development will help fast-track DepEd’s goal of including more schools in the pilot run of limited face-to-face classes.

When the President approved the pilot study of limited face-to-face classes in September, only 120 implementers – 100 are public schools and 20 are private schools.

On Nov. 15, DepEd finally started the implementation of face-to-face classes in 97 public schools that were earlier identified.


‘Monumental’: DepEd wraps up first day of pilot face-to-classes

Originally, there were 100 public schools that were scheduled to resume limited face-to-face classes but three deferred their participation until after the teachers who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been cleared.

Given the authority to fully decide on the expansion phase of limited face-to-face classes, Briones said that more schools are expected to participate in the pilot run.

Briones said that the authority from the President was very important because DepEd and DOH can now decide on the extent of the expansion of coverage of face-to-face classes.

Meanwhile, Briones clarified that joint guidelines by DepEd and DOH would still be in place. Thus, schools that will participate in the face-to-face classes — both public and private — still need to pass the safety assessment and evaluation.

“Kailangan talaga mayroong clearance from the DOH at may risk assessment (We have to secure clearance from the DOH and there risk assessment should be conducted),” Briones said.

Briones said that DepEd will continue to implement the pilot face-to-face classes under the shared responsibility framework since the help and cooperation of the local government units and other stakeholders are very crucial in the success of the pilot study.

“For us, this is very important consideration [because] the health of the children and our teachers is paramount,” Briones added.


Pilot face-to-face classes begin in PH after nearly 2 years of school closure due to pandemic