Limited face-to-face classes will be allowed beginning January 2021 subject to conditions imposed by the government, Malacañang said Tuesday.
The conditions are as follows:
- Face-to-face classes will be allowed only in low risk areas, or those already at least under modified general community quarantine or in the transition phase between general community quarantine and the new normal
- Face-to-face classes will be allowed in January 2021, or the third quarter of the school year. Private schools which have started limited face-to-face classes last June will be allowed to continue
- Decisions to allow limited, localized face-to-face classes will be made with due coordination between the Department of Education, the concerned local government units and the local health authorities
- Stringent health standards will be followed
- Pilot testing and inspection jointly with the National Task Force Against COVID-19 for observance of required health standards and protocols
The specific health standards are as follows:
- No mask, no entry policy in school premises
- Hand washing and hand hygiene
- Regular disinfection in school premises
- Checking for temperature and respiratory symptoms
- Reduction in class size to 15 to 20 (maximum) and physical arrangement of seats conforming to required distances
- Intermittent attendance to school only, to complement distance learning
- Controls of flow of learners and personnel in entrance and exit
- No mass gatherings
- Visible instructions, signages and markings
- Preparedness and case management system in coordination with LGUs and local health authorities for contact tracing, isolation and treatment
Earlier in the day, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposal of the Department of Education to hold limited face-to-face classes.
He earlier insisted that learners should not physically attend classes until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available but his spokesperson Harry Roque said the President changed his mind because of Education Secretary Leonor Briones, who presented the proposal.
The upcoming school year will begin on August 24. — RSJ, GMA News