December 15, 2020 – The Department of Education welcomes the approval of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the Cabinet of the conduct of pilot face-to-face classes implementation in very select schools within areas with low COVID-19 risk for the whole month of January 2021.

The pilot implementation will only take place in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) or categorized as low-risk areas, following stringent health and safety standards.

There must also be a commitment for shared responsibility of DepEd, the local government unit (LGU), and the parents or guardians.

The Department would also like to emphasize that learners will not be compelled to participate and can continue their distance learning set-up. Selected schools will require consent from parents allowing their children to join the limited face-to-face classes.

For schools, there must be a well-documented report of readiness, including risk classification, documentation of acknowledgment of shared responsibility, students and classroom management plan, and health standard requirements at home, during travel, and in school premises.

The Regional Directors have already submitted to the Secretary the nominated schools that satisfy the specific conditions laid by the Department. The limited number of public schools that will participate in the pilot implementation will be determined within the month upon evaluating their compliance and readiness.

Once selected, the participating schools, LGUs, learners, and parents will undergo a thorough process of orientation, mobilization, and readiness confirmation before the actual implementation.

The conduct and monitoring will be closely coordinated by the Department with the COVID-19 National Task Force (NTF). External organizations are also invited to support, give feedback, and help generate resources to ensure the success of the program.

Recognizing that face-to-face classes remain a necessity for education, this pilot implementation in low-risk areas can help policymakers and the Department in coming up with more comprehensive recommendations and initiatives for learning continuity moving forward.