The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday remained firm that there will be no face-to-face classes — even in areas with no recorded COVID-19 case — until a vaccine is found and made accessible.
“The Department of Education shall comply with the President’s directive to postpone face-to-face classes until a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available,” DepEd told GMA News Online.
“We will only consider integrating face-to-face classes into blended learning once we are absolutely certain that the threat posed by COVID-19 is gone, and that our teachers, parents, learners, and the rest of the community has access to a vaccine,” it added.
DepEd was reacting to Vice President Leni Robredo’s suggestion that face-to-face classes be allowed in areas that have not recorded cases of COVID-19.
Robredo argued that face-to-face teaching is ideal for some learners, such as early primary students and children with special needs.
“So sana pag-aralan na depende sa lugar iyong modality na gagawin, hindi lahat distance, kasi baka iyong mga lugar na hindi naman mataas iyong danger ng contamination, o wala namang contamination, baka puwede namang mag-face-to-face,” she said during her weekend radio show.
Due to the threat of COVID-19, DepEd said for School Year 2020-2021, set to start on August 24, distance learning will be adopted where students do not have to go to school to participate in classes to avoid possible transmission of the virus.
It also removed around 60% of the curriculum to adjust for the remote learning approach.
The department has been preparing for ways to deliver education to students through self-learning modules, broadcast media, and the internet.
As of Tuesday, more than 13.75 million students or around 49.52% of expected enrollees for School Year 2020-2021 have enrolled since the start of the month-long enrolment on June 1, according to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones.
The other half of the expected students have only one week to enroll for the coming school year by dropping enrollment forms in drop boxes.
“Sa mga bayan na walang connectivity [sa internet], may mga drop boxes kung saan ang mga parent doon nila ilalagay ang enrollment forms ng kanilang mga anak,” Briones said in a public briefing on Tuesday. —KBK, GMA News