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  • DepEd Plans Limited Face-To-Face Classes For Kindergarten To Grade 3

    Upon consultation with the DOH and medical experts.
    by Kitty Elicay .
DepEd Plans Limited Face-To-Face Classes For Kindergarten To Grade 3
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/M2020
  • The Department of Education (DepEd) is mulling a pilot run of limited face-to-face classes in at least 120 schools in “low-risk” areas, pending an approval from President Rodrigo Duterte.

    During the Laging Handa public briefing last September 6, 2021, DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the pilot run will prioritize Kindergarten to Grade 3 levels. This was upon consultation with the Department of Health (DOH) and other medical experts.

    “Dahil sa rekomendasyon ng Department of Health at ng medical experts na ating kinonsulta, ay mag-focus lang po tayo sa first key stage — ‘yung kindergarten to grade 3 na mga estudyante,” said Usec. Malaluan in an interview with Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Office of the Philippines.

    He reiterated that classes will not resume full operations and the number of students per class will be limited. Only 12 students will be allowed for the kinder level and not more than 16 will be allowed for grades 1 to 3.

    This is to ensure that physical distancing inside the classroom is followed, along with the organized entry and exit of students. Students will spend a maximum of 3 hours in the classroom, with the doors and windows open and air conditioning units turned off for proper ventilation.

    “Activities in school are mainly reinforcing activities to what will still be predominantly distance learning,” Usec. Malaluan added.

    According to the undersecretary, local government units would also have to sign off should the President approve the pilot run. Attendance is voluntary and with the consent of parents.

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    In an interview with CNN Philippines, Usec. Malaluan clarified why the pilot run decided to start at younger levels.

    “This is going to happen in areas with minimal risk and this age group is actually the age group that the medical experts have found based on the data to be the most resilient so far from COVID transmission,” he said.

    Usec. Malaluan said in the public briefing that according to the Department of Health, minimal health risk areas mean those with a growth rate of less than or equal to zero cases in the last two weeks. The daily attack rate should also be less than 1 for every area with a population of 100,000.

    According to the undersecretary, 100 public schools were initially nominated for the pilot run but 20 private schools were added recently upon the request of Education Secretary Leonor Briones.

    DepEd urged to reconsider

    While the pilot run is yet to be presented by the DepEd in a cabinet meeting, some groups are already opposing the idea. Bacolod City Councilor Renecito Novero hopes that the agency would reconsider its decision especially with the surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.

    “They are now preparing it, but hopefully, they will not continue this plan for the safety of our children as well as our teachers,” Novero said in a report by Sun Star.

    "I am fully aware that the threat of COVID-19 remains high and we have Delta variant cases. So, we need to protect our children and for now, let's disregard the face-to-face classes," he added.

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    The opening of classes for school year 2021-2022 will be on September 13, 2021. According to DepEd order No. 029, face-to-face classes are still not allowed, “unless permitted by the Office of the President.” 

    Click here for what to expect in the upcoming school year.

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