The pilot run of face-to-face classes in 120 schools located in low risk areas is set to begin on Nov. 15, the Department of Education said Wednesday, as the Philippines prepares to resume in-person learning that was halted by the pandemic.
The limited in-classroom learning will coincide with the start of the second quarter of School Year 2021-2022, Education Usec. Nepomuceno Malaluan said during the Senate basic education panel hearing.
"Kung may mga final na inspection, paghahanda, see that all systems go in the first week of November. We start on Nov. 15 classes doon sa mga pilot schools," he said.
According to the DepEd's timeline, the pilot face-to-face classes will continue through December and will resume in January after the Christmas break until Jan. 31, 2022. Assessment of the initial run will take place from Nov. 15 to Dec. 22 as the classes are ongoing.
The DepEd will then evaluate the pilot study and present its report to President Rodrigo Duterte in February. If all goes well, face-to-face classes may be expanded to other areas starting March 7 next year.
The Philippines is one of few countries in the world, including Venezuela, to keep classrooms shut for this long due to the pandemic.
A total of 120 schools located in minimal risk areas that passed the school safety assessment tool can participate in the pilot face-to-face classes. There must also be express support from the local government unit and written consent from the parents before the schools can join the study.
Malaluan said 59 schools had so far passed the assessment, many of which are in Visayas.
The class sizes for participating students and their corresponding stay in school are:
- Kinder: 12 learners (3 hours stay in school)
- Grades 1 to 3: 16 learners (4.5 hours stay in school)
- Senior high school: 20 learners in a classroom, 12 learners in tech-voc workershops/science laboratories (4.5 hours stay in school)
A blended learning approach will be applied during the pilot face-to-face classes, wherein students will attend their classes physically for one week and on a distance learning setup for the following week.
Since last year, 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.