The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday reported that 17,479 public and private schools have been nominated to conduct face-to-face classes.
Based on the agency’s quick count, 17,054 public and 425 private schools are ready to resume physical classes as of March 28.
DepEd said these schools are either fully compliant with the department’s School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT) or compliant but with pending local government unit concurrence.
“We are optimistic with this upward trend on the number of schools already implementing classroom-based learning. With support from the Central and Regional Offices, we are keen on reintroducing physical classes to more localities in the country,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said, according to a DepEd press release.
DepEd also said at least 13,692 public and private schools are currently holding in-person classes, or 78.3% of the nominated schools.
In February, only 6,686 schools nationwide passed the SSAT. Of this number, 6,586 were public schools and 100 were private schools.
With the increasing number of schools holding in-person classes, DepEd is set to release policies related to the progressive expansion of onsite learning, including the updated SSAT.
“The SSAT will ensure that our schools are ready for the changes in managing face to face classes while guiding our field offices in the provision of logistical and technical assistance needed by schools,” Briones said.
The Education chief, however, clarified that the SSAT is not the final determinant of participation in the face-to-face classes and is only meant to prepare schools and assess their readiness for their eventual reopening.
Meanwhile, three regions also reported that more than half of their respective schools are nominated for return to in-person classes, including CAR (55.9%), Region IX (53.1%), and Region III (51.9%).
In terms of the number of nominated schools, Region III topped the list with 2,686, followed by Region VIII and Region VII with 1,987 and 1,585, respectively.
The department said there are approximately 3.1 million learners who are participating in classroom-based learning nationwide.
Face-to-face classes were disallowed by the government in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Limited face-to-face classes were pilot-tested starting November 15, 2021. —Mel Matthew Doctor/KG, GMA News