The planned expansion of limited face to face classes in basic education has been put “on hold” until Jan. 15, 2022, the Department of Education (DepEd) said.
In a phone interview on Sunday, Jan. 2, Education Secretary Leonor Briones told the Manila Bulletin that DepEd has already completed the pilot implementation of limited face to face classes in December.
This January, DepEd was planning to expand the implementation of face to face classes.
However, Briones said that in light of the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to place the National Capital Region (NCR) to Alert Level 3, “on hold ang (the) plan [to expand] that is, at least until Jan. 15 .”
“While the results of the pilot [implementation] are very favorable, we’re putting plans to expand face-to-face classes on hold,” Briones said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Pilot implementation completed
Briones clarified that the pilot implementation of face to face classes, which started on Nov. 15, 2021, was completed last December already.
“Tapos na ang pilot implementation na naka-schedule ng December (The pilot implementation was already over, it was scheduled in December),” Briones said, noting that it was completed before the Christmas vacation started on Dec. 20.
“We were satisfied with the results, there was no single case of COVID except for the usual colds among children in places in areas where there is rain,” Briones said. “There were no untoward incidents,” she added.
Briones said that DepEd also noted the challenges after the pilot implementation and was already finalizing its plans to expand the face to face classes.
“The pilot [implementation] showed desirable results and if there were challenges, these were manageable and we reacted on them immediately,” she said.
Expansion plans ‘on hold’
However, Briones noted that the “last word” on the expansion of face to face classes comes from the IATF, particularly from the Department of Health (DOH).
“Now, the decision of the IATF is to [put on hold] the expansion of [face-to-face] classes,” she explained.
“[The] last word is that of the health experts because it’s not so much the curriculum content because we already got the information we needed — where the problems are, where the challenges are, etc.,” she added.