While it expressed readiness to further expand the implementation of limited face-to-face classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) stressed that certain determining factors have to be taken into consideration.
“At the end of the day, risk assessment of the DOH [Department of Health] is still the determining factor and also the consent of the local governments,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said during the “Laging Handa” public briefing on Friday, Jan. 28.
Briones said DepEd is waiting for the DOH to release its risk assessment in other areas nationwide.
“Kasi ang inilabas nila ay yung anim na probinsya na ini-raise nila into Alert Level 3, hinihintay namin yung assessment ng ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas at kung may go signal ang DOH, ipagpatuloy namin yan (What they released is list of the six provinces that they are raising into Alert Level 3, we are waiting for the assessment of other parts of the Philippines and if the DOH has a go signal, we will continue that),” Briones explained, referring to the expansion phase of limited face-to-face classes.
Briones said that once DepEd received a go signal from DOH that it can start with the expanded implementation of the program, then schools who have been earlier assessed will proceed as instructed.
“The minute the DOH [says] na ito ang mag lugar na pwedeng magsimula ng sinasabi natin na face-to-face, at saka kung paborable yung risk assessment, ipagpatuloy namin (The minute the DOH says that these areas can start with what we call face-to-face, and then if the risk assessment is favorable, we will continue),” Briones explained.
DepEd, Briones said, already has an inventory of schools that can implement the expansion phase of the limited face-to-face program.
Citing the result of the pilot study of limited face-to-face classes conducted from November to December 2021, Briones said that DepEd is ready to expand the program.
“Kung basehan ang sa pilot study, wala kaming ni isang report about a COVID infection sa mga pilot schools na aming na-manage (Based on the pilot study, we did not have a single report of COVID infection in the pilot schools we managed),” Briones said.
The result of the pilot study, Briones said, also encouraged DepEd to continue implementing limited face-to-face classes nationwide.
“Nae-encourage kami na kung mag-iingat, kung susundin lahat ng protocols of DOH, eh maiiwasan itong sakit na ito (We are encouraged that if we are careful, if we follow all the protocols of DOH, we will be able to prevent this disease),” she added.