The Department of Education (DepEd) is expecting that all schools in the country will hold face-to-face classes by June amid the COVID-19 pandemic, its Secretary Leonor Briones said on Monday.
At the Laging Handa public briefing, Briones said regional offices will come up with different approaches and modalities based on the assessment of the Department of Health and local governments in their areas.
“By June, which is already a few days away from now, sa next academic school year, ini-expect natin na fully 100% na talaga 'yung pag-implement natin ng face-to-face classes,” Briones said.
(By June, which is already a few days away from now, in the next academic school year, we are expecting that the implementation of face-to-face classes will be fully at 100%.)
As of May 26, over 34,000 or 73% of public schools are ready for face-to-face classes, Briones said.
She added that the DepEd is also advising private schools to conduct in-person classes.
The Department of Health (DOH) said last week that face-to-face (F2F) classes are "healthier" and offers many benefits.
“Face-to-face attendance in school will allow children to develop their cognitive and social skills experientially,” it said.
“F2F promotes physical and mental health and well-being. This is based on the latest scientific evidence,” DOH added.
DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said the DepEd is now encouraging all schools to conduct face-to-face classes with only a limited number of days of in-person meetings.
“Tinitignan namin na blended na may face-to-face class na mga araw at may araw na papayagan na nasa bahay pa rin natututo ang mga bata,” he said.
(We are looking at blended learning where there are days for face-to-face classes and days for learning at home.)
San Antonio said the DepEd will push for this setup if the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases would allow a number of days in a week for face-to-face classes.
DepEd Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo said the department would still consider the concurrence of local government units and parents in holding in-person classes to ensure the safety of students.
“Ang ating mga division offices sa guidance ng regional offices may kanya-kanyang guidelines na ipapatupad (Our division offices with the guidance of regional offices will have their own guidelines),” he said.
According to Escobedo, some schools are requesting to allow more grade levels and students participate in the conduct of face-to-face classes.
Meanwhile, Briones said they want the next administration to work on equity for education and set a long-term vision spanning decades for the sector.
Vice President-elect Sara Duterte has agreed to take on the education secretary post as President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has announced.
Duterte said she would "work on producing skilled learners with the mindset to realize their full potential as individuals".
Her spokesperson Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco on Saturday said Duterte has already formally communicated with Briones' office for the transition process. —KG, GMA News