DepEd hopes more public schools qualify for pilot run of physical classes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — The Department of Education is closely coordinating with the Department of Health as they continue to assess public schools allowed to reopen next month.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones says the DepEd is meeting with the DOH to expand the list of qualified public schools for the resumption of face-to-face classes.

"Every Monday, that means yesterday, we met with the Department of Health and they reassessed their endorsement of the 59 public schools. In the meantime, several local governments have decided that they will still observe what is happening," she said at a webinar before business groups.

The pilot run of physical classes will begin on Nov. 15 in schools identified by the DOH as low risk for COVID-19. As of Oct. 4, only 59 schools, mostly in Visayas and Mindanao, have been allowed to participate.

Briones said the target is to increase the number of schools to 120 before the start of the pilot run. Regional directors in areas not listed by the DOH can also submit a justification to include some schools for further evaluation.

RELATED: Pilot run of limited face-to-face classes to start Nov. 15

Online learning here to stay in new normal?

Briones also said online learning should not be scrapped entirely once physical classes resume in the country.

"You look at other countries wala namang (there are no) eight hours, full day, pure face-to-face classes. In some schools they have one half day, one hour, two hours and the rest is online because of the risks also... And whether there are health risks or not, technology is advancing and it is changing every day, so hindi ‘yan mabubura (It cannot be scrapped)," she explained to business leaders.

She pointed to connectivity as a bigger issue, as seen in the transition to blended learning. During the shift to the hybrid mode of classes, many students and teachers faced internet issues and lack of gadgets, causing disruption in learning.

Briones hopes future leaders, including those aspirants in the 2022 national elections, will commit to investing more in technology for education.