Schools eyed for limited face-to-face classes narrowed down to 300

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - June 21, 2021 - 4:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — Education officials on Monday said the number of schools eyed for limited in-person learning has been trimmed to 300 from the 1,900 across the country that they proposed last year.

The Duterte administration in December 2020 approved a pilot run on resuming face-to-face classes in areas with low virus transmission.

It was later on shelved due to the threat of new COVID-19 variants. And as the first school year under the pandemic comes to a close, government has yet to give another green light on the said study. 

Secretary Leonor Briones said they made the move following suggestions from the Senate. In March, lawmakers told the agency that Palace may be hesitant to approve their proposal due to the large number of schools. 

"Now we have to deal with the Delta variant which I understand is more virulent," she said in a briefing to mark DepEd's 123rd anniversary. "And so this development has to be seriously considered as well."

DepEd has yet to provide a list of schools that could be tapped for the move. But Briones said it will all depend on the assessment of the pandemic task force and the health department, with the final word from President Rodrigo Duterte.  

The education chief added that the agency considers factors in deciding sites for the pilot run, ranging from schools' preparedness to compliance with health protocols.

"First is that facilities have to be ready for face-to-face," she said in Filipino. "Social distancing can be followed, there is water and medicine supply, is near a health unit and passed DOH and IATF's standards."

Local governments would need to approve the conduct of the study in schools within their area, and students participating would need their parents' consent.

Further, businesses catering services would also be required to comply with standards, Briones said. It would include vehicles transporting students, canteens, and supplier of uniforms, to name a few.

"These might change depending on the behavior of the Delta variant," Briones added. "The behavior of the COVID-19 will largely affect whether we will have extensive face-to-face."

Schools' reopening in ASEAN

Contrast to a pilot study pending in the Philippines, some countries in Southeast Asia are now moving to reopen schools. 

Briones said these nations are: Laos, Thailand and Myanmar — under a military coup — this June, Indonesia and Singapore by July, and Cambodia between August to September.

The said data was based from the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization. Countries still ruling this out are: Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Officials from the World Health Organization and United Nations' Children's Fund have since urged nations to make the safe resumption of classes a priority. 

They warned of consequences in the long run on students' overall wellbeing from the prolonged closure of schools.

President Duterte's approval on the return to classrooms is significantly anchored on vaccinations. Local regulators have cleared Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for those 12 to 15 years of age, but inoculation efforts remain on those in government's priority list. 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 22, 2021 - 3:13pm

Follow this thread for updates on when classes will resume, and how those classes will be conducted.

Photo: Students wearing protective face masks have their temperatures taken while entering their college campus in Manila on January 31, 2020. AFP/Ted Aljibe

March 22, 2021 - 3:13pm

The Department of Education (DepEd) Benguet has identified at least 17 schools for the pilot testing of face-to-face classes for the fourth quarter of the year.

DepEd Benguet Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) Gloria Buya-ao confirmed the testing of the limited face to face classes.  She identified Lanipew Elementary School and Tacadang Integrated School in Kibungan; Naguey Elementary School in Atok; Kayapa Elementary School in the boundary of Benguet and Nueva Viscaya; Otbong Elementary School in Bokod;  Amgaleyguey Elementary School in Buguias; Tonglo-Carino Elementary School also in Buguias; and Oyusan and Ja’pa Elementary School in Atok.

Other schools identified were Beckes Pol-oc Primary School;  Beckes Pol-oc Primary School, Busoc Primary School, Mario laruan elementary school and Pasdong Elementary School in Atok;  Gadang Elementary School in Kapangan; Baayan Elementary School and Bilis Elementary school in Tublay. — AFP

December 26, 2020 - 6:24pm

President Rodrigo Duterte announces that face-to-face classes in certain areas are cancelled due to reports of a new coronavirus strain.

November 30, 2020 - 3:01pm

International students have arrived in Australia for the first time since the country shut its borders to curb coronavirus in March, with a charter flight touching down in Darwin on Monday.

Australian universities have been leaking cash due to the country's indefinite border closure, which has locked out foreign students who keep the billion-dollar sector afloat.

A plane chartered by Charles Darwin University (CDU) carrying 63 international students arrived in the northern city of Darwin as part of a pilot programme aimed at kickstarting the higher education industry.

The students — from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia — travelled to Singapore to catch the flight and will now spend 14 days in a government quarantine facility.

The mix of new and continuing students are enrolled across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses including law, nursing and engineering. — AFP

November 26, 2020 - 12:07pm

The University of the Philippines will implement a 'no-fail' policy for the current semester, the Office of the Student Regent announces.

The Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs will release guidelines for the policy, where no grades of "4" (Conditional)  or "5" (Fail) will be given.


November 12, 2020 - 6:05pm

Filipinos dealing with the aftermath of a series of major typhoons cannot continue classes under current conditions, Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan says in a release as it demanded that classes and other academic work be postponed until the 19th.

"As Typhoon Ulysses continues to wreck havoc in Central Luzon and the Greater Manila Area and southern Luzon still grappling with widespread flooding, power outages and intermittent internet signals making distance learning of any kind practically impossible," the group says.

"We demand the suspension of ALL classes and submission of academic requirements in ALL levels NATIONWIDE until November 19. Millions need decisive action from our government officials NOW," it also says.

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