After 19 months, Philippines begins gradual return to classrooms

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
After 19 months, Philippines begins gradual return to classrooms
Photo shows students at the Mary Perpetua E. Brioso National High School in Tigbao, Milagros Masbate finally returning to their classroom after the pandemic disrupted physical learning in the Philippines in 2020.
Release / Department of Education

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino students in select public schools returned to classrooms on Monday for in-person learning, the first time in almost two years since the coronavirus pandemic began. 

The Philippines became the last country in the world to resume physical classes this month per a UNICEF monitoring, with Venezuela allowing face-to-face classes in late October. 

Some 100 public schools are participating in the Department of Education's pilot study, which President Rodrigo Duterte has given his approval. 

"We are happy to see our learners inside our classrooms as we recognize the significance of face-to-face learning in their social development," DepEd said in a statement. 

It added more schools are expected to be included in its list, following an announcement of the expanded pilot run last week. 

Photos sent by DepEd showed students in face masks and face shields as they entered classrooms for the first time since March 2020. 

TINGNAN: Masiglang bumalik ang mga estudyante ng Laserna Integrated School sa bayan ng Nabas, Aklan sa loob ng...

Posted by DepEd Philippines on Sunday, 14 November 2021


Temperature checks and handwashing stations were also set as part of the approved guidelines between education and health officials. 

But authorities have ruled out mandatory COVID-19 testing for students, teachers and non-teaching personnel. 

The Department of Health had said it is not recommending the regular screening, and those exhibiting symptoms would be instead be sent to isolation. 

Resuming in-person classes became more crucial in the Philippines with groups allaying difficulties under the distance learning. 

That ranges from poor internet access, to economic woes, as well as the mental strain and exhaustion from the setup. 

"As we take a huge step of reintroducing face-to-face classes amidst the public health situation," DepEd added, "we are optimistic that our Bayanihan spirit will live on to ensure the safety of involved stakeholders and the success of this pilot run."

The second year of distance learning began in September 2021, with more than 28 million Filipino students enrolled. 

While physical classes began in 100 public schools today, DepEd has yet to approve a list of 20 private schools that could join the pilot run. 

An education official said last week they would still have to narrow down some 30 private institutions nominated by their regional offices. 

There are no schools in the National Capital Region allowed to join the pilot study yet. Metro Manila has already been classified by DOH as a "low-risk" area for COVID-19. 




As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 18, 2022 - 10:11am

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

April 18, 2022 - 10:11am

Sen. Nancy Binay calls on the Commission on Higher Education and the inter-agency task force on COVID-19 not to "burden" students over requirements for face-to-face classes.

Higher educations students are being required to present medical insurance and other documents before participating in face-to-face classes.

“This is a cumbersome and unnecessary requirement para sa college students, considering that by law, all Filipinos are automatic members of PhilHealth. Sa totoo lang, 'di kailangang dagdagan ang proseso, dapat nga mas simplehan pa,” Binay says.

November 12, 2021 - 9:10am

The Department of Education announces that it will increase the number of participating schools in the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes.

"The expansion of the number of pilot schools will allow a greater degree of experience among all our regions that will serve us well for the expanded phase of face-to-face classes," DepEd says.

November 10, 2021 - 6:56pm

COVID-19 immunization has started for tertiary students in Ilocos Norte as part of the massive vaccination campaign of the Commission on Higher Education. 

This in preparation for the reopening of in-person tertiary classes, CHED-Regional Office 1 said as a ceremonial vaccination of students at Mariano Marcos State University was held on Monday in collaboration with the Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government, the provincial government and Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center. 

About 800 students are expected to be inoculated through the CHED immunization drive. 

Prior to this, MMSU had already vaccinated 75% of its student population. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 28, 2021 - 8:13pm

President Rodrigo Duterte has authorized limited face-to-face classes for the following programs: 

  1. Engineering and Technology programs
  2. Hospitality/ Hotel and Restaurant Management
  3. Tourism/ Travel Management
  4. Marine Engineering
  5. Marine Transportation

Commission on Higher Education Chairman Popoy De Vera, who made the announcement, said the authorization applies to "degree programs that require hands-on experience in higher education institutions under Modified General Community Quarantine."

September 27, 2021 - 3:32pm

WHO Philippines says it applauds the government's decision to approve the pilot run of limited face-to-face classes in low-risk areas.

Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO representative in the Philippines, says they will continue to work with the government, particularly the DepEd and DOH, to support safe in-person learning.

"very child has the right to education, & schools are central to children’s development, safety, & well-being. Prolonged school closures have a significant impact on their physical & mental health development, and their skills attainment and career prospects," Abeyasinghe says.

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