Expansion of limited face-to-face classes in Central Luzon may begin this first week of February, should there be areas placed under Alert Levels 1 and 2.
Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Information Officer Michelle Lacson said no in-person and distance learning classes are currently conducted due to the implementation of academic break amid the surge in Covid-19 cases.
“The suspension is two weeks because that is the interval of the announcement of the classification of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases under the Alert Levels System. So, hopefully, whatever our situation will be in the coming weeks, most of the classes, whether online distance learning or face-to-face, will resume in February already,” she stated.
There should have been a conduct of limited face-to-face classes this month but was delayed as all provinces and highly-urbanized cities in Central Luzon are under Alert Level 3 until January 31.
“We have seen that most local government officials revoked their concurrence upon the rise in Covid-19 cases. The parents who consented at first also backed out, and did not allow their children to do face-to-face,” Lacson clarified.
Apart from the concurrence of the local government units and parents, academic institutions should meet all the criteria of the School Safety Assessment Tool prior to the implementation of physical classes in eligible areas.
Meanwhile, DepEd said the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes from November 15 to December 20 last year gained satisfactory results and positive feedback in a survey from learners, teachers and parents alike.
“Region 3 was able to participate in the pilot implementation last November in Zambales where we had 17 public schools, as well as one private school in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga. This is an advantage on our part because we have seen what we need to prepare, and how are the protocols,” Lacson furthered.
Based on the poll, the respondents reported a “high level of feeling of safety” while participating in the face-to-face classes; “high satisfaction levels” in the implementation of health and safety protocols; and “high level of confidence” to expand and continue limited in-person classes.
DepEd has proposed an adjusted school calendar extending the last school day from June 24 until the second week of July since most of the institutions are having a two-week health break. (MJSC/JLDC-PIA 3)