President Duterte hailed the start of pilot face-to-face classes in the National Capital Region (NCR) after almost two years of school closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, even as he asked other provinces to wait for their turn.
On Monday night, Dec. 6, during his weekly “Talk to the People” public briefing, the President asked other provinces and cities not to be dismayed if their local schools cannot yet reopen classes.
“We will allow the face-to-face classes in NCR. Now, do not be dismayed kung hindi sa inyo muna (not in yours for now) because these are all experimental and pilot projects,” he said.
“Doon muna titingnan natin kasi nandoon lahat ‘yung (We will prioritize NCR since all of the) resources ng (of the) government and ‘yung mga (the) official(s) and nandoon at makita kaagad at (are there and they can see easily and) they can keep posted on what is happening,” Duterte explained.
A total of 28 schools in Metro Manila has started their limited face-to-face classes, following the pilot of in-person classes in 118 participating provincial schools last Nov. 15.
The schools have to follow “strict health and safety protocols” during these classes.
Classes have opened in at least two schools in each of the cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasig, Quezon City, Taguig, Valenzuela; and one school each for the cities of Makati, Malabon, Pasay, and San Juan.
Under the Alert Level System (ALS), those under alert level 2 such as Metro Manila can conduct face-to-face classes with approval from the Department of Education (DepEd).
“I’m glad that they have thought of this. Just dahan-dahan lang, huwag—huwag masyadong mabilis kasi (slowly, and not too quick because)— just the better part of prudence,” Duterte said.
The DepEd said that there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 among the students who joined the pilot face-to-face classes.
The department has already identified more schools for the pilot run, but it has yet to give details on when they can start holding in-person classes.