Face-to-face pilot classes start Jan 11

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    Disinfecting a classroom last March. (Photo by REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

    PILOT testing for face-to-face classes will be from January 11 to 23, 2021, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday, reiterating that participation in the program will be voluntary and participants must secure permits from their parents.

    President Duterte and the Cabinet on Monday night approved a recommendation by the Department of Education (DepEd) to conduct in January a dry run of face-to-face classes in select schools from areas that are classified as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) low risk.

    A public school classroom in San Pablo City, Laguna before the pandemic. (Contributed photo)

    Roque said the DepEd would come up with a list of schools that would participate in the pilot program on December 28, adding that classes would be monitored by DepEd and the National Task Force against COVID-19.

    Under the DepEd program, Regional Directors will submit to Education Secretary Leonor Briones a list of schools to be considered for the implementation of the dry-run from December 14-18.

    The schools that will be identified by December 28 will undergo orientation, mobilization, and readiness confirmation of school officials and representatives from January 4 to 8. A report on the results of the dry run and a final recommendation would be submitted to the President.

    Classes in public schools resumed last October 5 using a blended learning scheme or a combination of online classes, use of self-learning modules and use of government television or radio stations for lectures. Some private schools started their classes in August.

    Duterte said in the past that he would not agree to the resumption of face-to-face class unless there is a vaccine against the pandemic.

    Briones said she presented the DepEd’s proposal to Duterte during the Cabinet meeting on Monday night. She said that aside from the approval of Duterte, the program should be held in agreement with local government units.

    “We have to respect the decision of the parents or guardians if they don’t want their children to be part of this dry-run,” Briones said, ruling out the inclusion of the National Capital Region in the program because Metro mayors are opposed to the idea.

    She said that requests for the resumption of face-to-face classes came from areas where parents are having a hard time teaching the DepEd’s curriculum to their kids. – With Noel Talacay