5 days of in-person classes mandatory for all public schools starting Nov. 2 --- DepED

The Department of Education (DepED) on Monday, Oct. 17, reiterated that the conduct of five days of face-to-face classes will be mandatory for all public schools nationwide starting Nov. 2.

Students of Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Quezon City on the first day of face-to-face classes which started last Aug. 22, 2022 (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

“All public schools across the country will be mandated to implement five (5) days of in-person classes starting 02 November 2022,” DepED said in a statement.

However, DepED cited public schools that expressly granted exemptions by the Regional Director concerned and those with canceled classes because of disasters and calamities as exceptions to the mandatory implementation of face-to-face classes by next month.

Related to this, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines urged the DepED to divulge the number of public schools appealing for exemption from five-day face-to-face classes.

“While we do not wish for the push for 100% face to face classes to fail, it seems that it is where we are heading given the government's failure to address our problems,” ACT said in a statement also issued Oct. 17.

The group said that it has received reports that many schools, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other urban areas, are “appealing to be exempted” from the five-day face-to-face classes as their facilities and human resources “simply cannot make it happen.”

“Our schools have no other recourse but to appeal for exemption as absorptive capacity was not expanded since the August 22 school opening,” ACT said.

In many schools, ACT noted that classes are taking turns in using classrooms, and teachers are already overloaded with teaching and non-teaching duties.

“How else can they expand face-to-face classes from the recent three times a week now to five days a week by November when classroom and personnel shortages were not seriously addressed?” ACT asked.

Meanwhile, ACT also slammed the latest issuance of DepED, the DO No. 44, s. of 2022 that is related to face-to-face classes.

“Return to 100 percent face to face classes is urgent and necessary but it cannot be done simply with a written order,” ACT said.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte issued DepED Order No. 44 series of 2022 on Monday, Oct. 17 which amended DepED Order No. 34, series of 2022 or the School Calendar and Activities For School Year 2022-2023.

For ACT, the said DO is “proof that the government cannot effectively do it as it gave leeway for exemptions from the earlier more stringent instruction banning blended learning” by Nov. 2, 2022.