PRRD approves pilot face-to-face classes in ‘minimal risk’ areas

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in locations identified to be at “minimal risk” for the coronavirus.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones stated in a televised public briefing that the schools for pilot in-person classes, which are set to begin in two months, must meet the Department of Education’s safety assessment qualifications.

“Local governments must allow it because they will host the face-to-face classes. There also must be written consent from the parents that they will allow their children to join the pilot classes,” Briones said.

Only around 100 public schools in low-risk locations across the country, as well as a limited number of students, would be permitted to participate.

“So we could see how it works, and then we add 20 private schools that they submit plans for this,” Briones said.

Briones stated that just 12 students will join in kindergarten, and 16 students will participate in grades 1 to 3.

Students enrolled in technical or vocational classes at five senior high schools would be limited to 20 students.

Schools and students adopted remote learning from the start of the pandemic last year, altering the way children are educated. When the suggestion to hold face-to-face classes arose, various groups and parents objected, citing concerns about their children’s health and safety.

In a statement, the DepEd said that “no learner shall be forced to attend the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes.” 

For two months, a combination of face-to-face classes and distance learning modalities will be used in the pilot implementation.

Face-to-face classes will be held half-day every other week, with participating schools ensuring that class schedules are set up fairly so that all competent learners have the opportunity to participate in person.

“While the public schools have already undergone a selection process, the private school participants will still undergo selection,” the statement read.

The DepEd and Department of Health developed the operational rules for the face-to-face classes, with the assistance of the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and other organizations specializing in children’s health.

It also includes a list of steps to take in order to prepare school workers, students, and the community for the school’s reopening.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.