Pilot run of face-to-face classes to start on Nov. 15 — DepEd
MANILA, Philippines — The pilot test of face-to-face classes in the country will start on November 15, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Wednesday.
During a hearing of the Senate basic education committee, DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the pilot run of face-to-face classes will begin on the said date, which is also the start of the second academic quarter.
He said the assessment of the initial run will be conducted from November 15 to December 22, while the end of the pilot study is scheduled for January 31.
In February, DepEd is set to conduct an evaluation of the pilot study, identify other schools for expansion of the face-to-face classes, inspect sites, and present to President Rodrigo Duterte the report on the pilot test and the proposed expansion.
The DepEd plans to expand the holding of face-to-face classes to other schools and areas on March 7, but committee chairman Senator Sherwin Gatchalian believes the date may be too late.
In September, Duterte approved the holding of face-to-face classes in areas with minimal risk for COVID-19. the DepEd earlier said 100 public schools and 20 private schools will be participating in the pilot test.
Out of the 638 nominated schools, 59 have so far passed the risk assessment of the Department of Health (DOH) for the limited face-to-face classes. Malaluan said the figure will still be updated to meet the target of 120 schools.
“Face-to-face classes, even in limited form, can mitigate the challenges of distance learning,” he added.
The pilot test will cover kindergarten to grade 3 students without existing comorbidities, while only subjects that require laboratories or workshops for senior high schools will be allowed to have in-person classes.
Malaluan said the participation of students will be voluntary and will require signed consent from their parents. Those who will participate in the pilot test are preferably learners from within the city or municipality where the school is located.
According to the DepEd official, the learners will be “prioritized based on the greatest need for face-to-face if available slots are limited.”
Meanwhile, school personnel who will be allowed to hold the physical classes should be 65 years old and below with no diagnosed comorbidities. They must also be vaccinated against COVID-19.
On class size, only a maximum of 12 students for kindergarten, 16 students for grades 1 to 3, 20 learners for senior high school in a classroom, and 12 learners for senior high school in technical-vocational-livelihood workshops or science laboratories will be allowed.
DepEd said a blended learning approach will be applied in the pilot run, which will be an alternate of a one-week face-to-face and one-week distance learning methods.
The students will stay for four hours and 30 minutes in school, except for kindergarten students who will only stay for only three hours.
“Class schedules shall be arranged equitably so that all qualified learners with parents’ consent will have the opportunity to attend face-to-face classes,” the DepEd noted in its presentation.
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