As it pushes for the implementation of expanded face-to-face classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) said that preference to those who will be allowed to participate would be given to students who were already vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Kasama dun sa ating expanded phase ang agreement natin with DOH [Department of Health] ay ang vaccination of all of our learners is preferred (Included in our expanded phase is our agreement with DOH that vaccination of all of our learners is preferred),” said DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan during the “Laging Handa” public briefing on Friday, Jan. 28.
Related to this, Malaluan said that DepEd already “has the commitment” of the DOH and the office of National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. that vaccination of the younger population will be prioritized by the government.
Meanwhile, Malaluan said that DepEd welcomes the scheduled vaccination of minors five to 11 years old starting February.
DepEd continues to actively encourage parents to participate in the vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 which started last year.
Malaluan explained that children aged five to 11 and those who are 12 to 17 years old covers Kindergarten until Grade 12.
“As we increase the rate of vaccination, for those who are 12 to 17 and then with the vaccination of 5 to 11 to start this February, ay nakikita natin yung (we can see the) confidence ng ating mga (of our) stakeholders sa pagpapalawak ng (to further expand) face-to-face classes,” Malaluan said.
In the implementation of expanded face-to-face classes, Malaluan reiterated the “Shared Responsibility” framework which includes the concurrence of local government units (LGUs) and permits coming from parents allowing their children to participate.
“And, as we increase the vaccination rate among our pediatric population ay nakikita natin na mas lalawak pa itong ating (we can see that the) progressive face-to-face classes na inaprubahan ng Pangulo (which was approved by the President can be expanded further),” he added.
In the same briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones expressed DepEd’s readiness to implement the expansion phase of limited face-to-face classes.
Based on the pilot study held from November to December 2021, Briones said that participants were generally “satisfied” with the implementation of the pilot face-to-face classes.
“After the pilot testing, we did three surveys: parents and community; teachers; and the learners themselves; if they were happy and satisfied in the way the pilot study was conducted,” Briones said.
The results of the survey, Briones said, encouraged DepEd to further expand the implementation of limited face-to-face classes.
“But, at the end of the day, risk assessment of the DOH is still the determining factor and also the consent of the local governments,” Briones said.