The Senate on Tuesday adopted a resolution recommending the resumption of face-to-face classes in the country by immediately launching the pilot testing of localized limited physical classes.
During its session, the chamber adopted Senate Resolution 663 in consideration of Senate Resolution 668, combining the resolutions introduced by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and six other senators.
According to the adopted resolution, the pilot testing in localized limited face-to-face classes will be launched in low-risk areas as identified by the Department of Education under risk-based assessment.
The pilot testing will also be conducted following stringent mitigation measures, strict health protocols, and guidelines set by the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease.
Sotto had sought the reopening of schools for in-person classes in areas where there are few or zero COVID-19 cases.
He said this is necessary so that the country's educational system could catch up with our Asian neighbors.
"There is no substitute to face-to-face classes, which is probably the best way to arrest the decline in [education] quality," he said.
Meanwhile, Gatchalian and six others said a pilot testing of the face-to-face classes must be held first before the reopening of physical classes.
According to the senators, the conduct of the pilot testing will allow the DepEd to gather evidence to guide its framework for the safe reopening of schools through a "risk-based assessment" to identify, analyze and reduce the risks affecting each school.
The pilot testing will also guide the DepEd to set specific standards and health protocols to reopen schools safely, and will lead to resumption of the feeding program for individuals affected by the pandemic.
Back in December, President Rodrigo Duterte recalled his order allowing a dry run of face-to-face classes in January 2021 in select areas amid reports of a new COVID-19 variant in the United Kingdom. — BM, GMA News