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Back to School: Philippines to Start Limited Face-to-Face Classes

Ready, kids?
by Arianne Merez
Sep 20, 2021
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

Face-to-face classes will be allowed again in areas with minimal risk of COVID-19, Malacañang said Monday, over a year since the Philippines shifted to remote learning due to the pandemic.

Limited face-to-face classes will resume in areas assessed by the Department of Health as having a low risk of COVID-19 spread, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. Parents need to give their consent for their children, he said.

The Philippines is one of few countries in the world, including Venezuela, to keep classrooms shut for this long due to the pandemic.

"Kinakailangan mayroon pong suporta ng LGU (local government unit) sa pamamagitan ng isang resolution o letter of support at kinakailangan mayoroon pong written support or consent ng mga magulang," Roque told Palace reporters.

The announcement came a week after the Philippines opened academic year 2021-2022  for public schools via remote learning again.

Department of Education Sec. Leonor Briones said 100 public schools would be included in the pilot run with the possible inclusion of 20 more private schools. 

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"Very, very strict ang health standards natin," she said.

Here are the class sizes for the pilot run:

  • Kindergarten: 12 learners (3 hours maximum)
  • Grades 1 to 3: 16 learners (3 hours maximum)
  • Technical vocation students in 5 senior high schools: 20 learners (4 hours maximum)

The pilot run will be held in alternating weeks and will still use blended learning. Monitoring and evaluation of the pilot run will be for two months, Briones said, noting that teachers are being prepared for the move.

Since 2020, the Philippines has been employing remote learning in its education system after the pandemic prompted the physical closures of schools. Some 28 million students have enrolled for the current school year based on data from the DepEd.

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