/ 22 December 2020

THE DEPARTMENT of Education expressed its gratitude to the United Nations Children’s Fund for supporting the government’s decision to implement limited face-to-face classes in low-risk areas.

“In coming up with recommendations, we have reviewed various international and local health studies, including UNICEF. We have also proactively consulted representatives from different sectors in our data-driven and risk-informed approach,” the department said in a statement.

“We understand from these engagements that clear policies and preventive measures are needed to eliminate the risk of infection among our teachers and learners,” it added.

The education department also assured the public that the pilot implementation of the face-to-face classes will be conducted with “extreme caution.”

“We reiterate that we will be highly selective for this undertaking, with stringent conditions already outlined, including the presence of commitment for shared responsibility of DepEd, the local government unit, the parents or guardians, transport and service providers, and other education stakeholders,” it said.

“Likewise, health standards will be strictly enforced on school premises, during travel, and at home. Participation of learners will also be voluntary, with requisite permit from parents. Face-to-face classes will be conducted under staggered or intermittent schedule and class size will be reduced to allow proper physical distancing in the classroom. In this regard, we also welcome UNICEF’s expression of support on the implementation side of this challenging task,” the department added.

DepEd said that it is its utmost priority to protect teachers and learners.

“We should keep working together to guarantee the safety and well-being of our learners and families,” it added.