DepEd rallies support for expanded face-to-face classes, vaccination vs COVID-19

Published January 27, 2022, 4:10 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

To ensure that field offices and schools prepared for the eventual expansion of the limited face-to-face classes implementation, the Department of Education (DepEd) asked for support from stakeholders.

(Photo from DepEd)

“During the pilot phase, we witnessed how we came together to ensure the safety of our learners and personnel,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said in a statement issued Thursday, Jan. 27.

“We believe we can duplicate and even double our efforts in our expansion and make face-to-face classes a possibility for all,” she added.

Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Nepomuceno Malaluan highlighted the importance of the shared responsibility framework implemented in the pilot run and how it contributed to the program’s overall success.

“The framework of shared responsibility will continue and will be as aggressive as the pilot run,” Malaluan said during a recent virtual press conference hosted by DepEd-Region II.

Malaluan added that DepEd will need help from local government units (LGUs) and the parents of the learners to make sure that the expansion of the limited face-to-face classes will be as “successful” as the pilot run.

DepEd, Malaluan added, will also continue to implement the framework for the expansion phase.

He added that the consent of the LGU and parents will still be the “main requirement” for the face-to-face classes.

Meanwhile, DepEd noted that it has ongoing operational steps as preparation for the expansion of face-to-face classes.

It includes determining the schools ready for expansion by February and coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) on regular Alert Level updates since places under Level 3 and Level 4 are not allowed to conduct face-to-face classes.

In terms of vaccination, DepEd reiterated that only vaccinated teaching and non-teaching personnel will be allowed to participate in the expansion of the pilot implementation of the face-to-face classes.

DepEd also shared that it is in close discussions with the DOH for the pediatric vaccination as vaccinated learners are preferred to join the expansion.

“Since the government has announced the vaccination of school-aged children, participation of vaccinated learners is preferred so we are encouraging the continuous and aggressive vaccination of our students as an additional layer of safety precaution,” Malaluan said.

Since the vaccination is voluntary, DepEd clarified that it is “not mandating” its personnel to be vaccinated as the flexible work-from-home arrangement is still in effect.

“Vaccination is a choice and at the same time, pinapahalagahan at pinoprotektahan natin ang kalusugan ng nakararami (we value and protect the health of the majority),” Briones said.

DepEd, she added, has to consider the “welfare and health of our people” — especially the students.