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Education Secretary Leonor Briones / PCOO

Face-to-face classes eyed in 1,114 schools

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Education Secretary Leonor Briones said 1,114 schools were recommended to conduct the dry run for face-to-face classes in areas with low risk for COVID-19, according to a report by GMA News.

The Department of Education (DepEd) asked regional directors to recommend potential schools that can hold the dry run, Briones said in an interview on CNN Philippines.

“1,114 na mga schools ang nominated by regional directors,” she said.

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However, Briones noted that these schools still have to be evaluated in terms of compliance with health protocols against the spread of COVID-19, and approval of parents and local government units, among others.

According to Briones, the number of nominated schools is expected to be "significantly reduced" after the evaluation.

The total number of public schools in the country is around 61,000, she said.

Briones said that the number of students allowed in a classroom will also be adjusted depending on the grade level and the space of the classroom.

“Halimbawa, kindergarten to Grade 3 — 25 kids. But we have to look at the classroom itself kasi we must comply with the requirement of social distancing. That is a major consideration” she said.

Due to this, Briones said classes can be split into different schedules.

“Classes can be split. Hindi 'yan that they will be all meeting—all 25 of them for kindergarten or all 45 of them for Senior High School…Siguro once or twice a week on limited hours,” she said.

For Briones, the allowed capacity for classrooms could be possibly set at 50% or less.

Asked about if the DepEd is considering COVID-19 testing in the process, Briones said they will only conduct it on the advice of the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force.

On Tuesday, DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said the department already created a list of schools nominated for the dry run for the resumption of face-to-face classes.

However, Sevilla said DepEd will only share the list of nominated schools once they pass the ‘final terms’ as cleared by the Office of the President and the Inter-Agency Task Force.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte approved DepEd’s proposal to conduct face-to-face classes in areas with low COVID-19 risk in January 2021, his spokesperson Harry Roque said.

In May this year, the government disallowed face-to-face classes until a COVID-19 vaccine is discovered and communities have adjusted to the “new normal” in light of the pandemic.


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