President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Department of Education (DepEd) to expand limited face-to-face (F2F) classes in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2 by February, Malacañang said Tuesday.
This, after Education Secretary Leonor Briones proposed the “progressive expansion” of in-person classes in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2 following the positive outcome of the pilot run from Nov. 15 to Dec. 22, 2021.
Schools in areas under Alert Level 3, such as Metro Manila, will not be included in the expansion phase due to a surge of COVID-19 infection in these areas.
“The President has no objection to the recommendation,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, acting presidential spokesperson, said in a Palace press briefing.
Nograles, however, said F2F classes would only be allowed with concurrence of local government units and consent of parents and other stakeholders.
“It will be the DepEd and the [Department of Health] combined that will be assessing the expansion of pilot implementation of face-to-face classes,” he added.
During Duterte’s prerecorded Talk to the People aired Monday night, Briones described the pilot run of limited F2F classes as “highly successful,” noting that there was a high level of attendance among students.
She said a total of 287 schools and 15,000 students participated in the pilot run. There were no confirmed COVID-19 cases among the participants of the pilot implementation.
For the expanded phase, Briones said she has recommended that only vaccinated teachers and non-teaching personnel will be allowed to participate.
Meanwhile, she also recommended that vaccinated students will be preferred to participate during the expansion phase.
Last month, Duterte said he was pleased with the “gradual” rollout of pilot limited face-to-face classes.
“I’m glad that they have thought of this just gradually, not too fast because of just the better part of prudence,” he said.