President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday approved the plan of the Department of Education (DepEd) to conduct pilot face-to-face (F2F) classes in select schools in areas with low-risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) for the whole month of January 2021.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte and the Cabinet approved the DepEd plan on Monday night’s Cabinet meeting.
“The Palace informs that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved during tonight’s Cabinet meeting, December 14, 2020, the presentation of the Department of Education to conduct pilot implementation or dry run of face-to-face classes in select schools within areas with low Covid-risk for the whole month of January 2021,” he said in a statement.
Roque said the DepEd will coordinate with the Covid-19 National Task Force (NTF) for the monitoring of the conduct of the pilot implementation.
He also assured that the pilot will be done under strict health and safety measures, and where there is commitment for shared responsibility among DepEd, local government units and parents.
The student, Roque said, will not be required to show up for in-person classes.
“We need to emphasize that face-to-face classes in schools where this may be allowed will not be compulsory, but rather voluntary on the part of the learner / parents,” he said.
He said a parent’s permit must be submitted for the student to participate in F2F classes.
Early this month, Roque said there will be no F2F classes until a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government was looking at proposals to allow F2F classes in medical schools.
Some senators earlier called for the resumption of limited and localized F2F classes in low-risk areas in the country.
Currently, learners nationwide study through the different distance learning modalities that the DepEd has set up – modular, online, television, and radio-based instruction learning.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier emphasized that there will be no in-person classes this year and resumption of such would be limited to areas which are “absolutely safe”.
She said F2F classes would only be allowed with the President’s approval. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)