/ 12 January 2021

THE DEPARTMENT of Education said that preparations are still in place for the possible conduct of face-to-face classes in areas with low Covid19 risk.

“Currently, the department is preparing for this possibility by identifying schools and regions that will participate in the implementation concerning the required health and safety standards set by the Inter-Agency Task Force,” DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said.

In December, the DepEd submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte its recommendation to conduct pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas on a limited scale in January 2021.

Despite major setbacks faced by the department, students, teachers, and school leaders, DepEd said that the challenges presented new opportunities that will help the agency adapt to the future of education.

In its recommendation, DepEd maintained that “face-to-face classes remain a necessity for education,” citing the social aspect of learning, where students are able to interact with their teachers and classmates, which cannot be fully replaced by distance learning modalities.

The education department said that under the current learning setup, the skills of students for “self-learning is uneven,” noting that household resources to assist children in the learning process are also uneven since these are affected by various factors such as household income, education of household members, access to Internet, and number of children in the household needing to be assisted, among others.

Without the consistent instructional guidance of teachers, some students find it difficult to learn, DepEd said.

The agency reiterated that allowing teachers to see their students in a face-to-face setting, even on an intermittent schedule, will “enable greater opportunities” to check on their learning progress and provide instructional supervision and interventions, if needed.