DepEd: 4,315 public, private schools hold face-to-face classes

Over 4,300 public and private schools offering basic education nationwide are currently holding face-to-face classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday, March 2, said.

Face-to-face classes in Cawayan Elementary School in Irosin, Sorsogon last December 1, 2021. (Photo courtesy of OSDS - DepEd Sorsogon Province Official)

During the Laging Handa public briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones along with other DepEd key officials gave an update on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes in public and private schools amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

As early as February, Briones said that some schools have been allowed to implement limited face-to-face classes in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2 under the expansion phase of the program.

As of Feb. 22, DepEd said that there are 6,145 public schools nationwide that have been deemed ready to hold face-to-face classes based on the criteria set by DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH).

Briones said that these schools have been assessed and evaluated using the Schools Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT).

For a school to be allowed to implement face-to-face classes, Briones said that it should secure permission from the local government unit (LGU) first.

Before the learners are allowed to participate in the limited face-to-face classes, Briones stressed that “written consent” from their parents is a must.

“We have to comply with the requirements of the DOH protocols,” Briones said.

On the part of DepEd and the schools, Briones said that the facilities “should be friendly towards face-to-face classes.”

Briones said that these criteria, among others, were used to determine the readiness of the schools participating in face-to-face classes.

Data provided by DepEd Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma showed that there are 4,239 public and 76 private schools that have already started the implementation of limited face-to-face classes as of March 1.

After the pilot study held from November to December 2021 was completed, Briones said that as early as February 2022, select schools located in low-risk areas have been allowed to participate in the expansion phase of face-to-face classes.

She noted that the number of schools that implement face-to-face classes changes daily since the local DepEd officials, including regional directors, have been authorized to make decisions on matters related to in-person classes in schools under their respective areas.