Limited face-to-face classes will be allowed in January 2021 or the third quarter of the school year, Malacañang said Tuesday.
In a televised media briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said some private schools have already started with the limited face-to-face classes in June and they will be allowed to continue.
“Face-to-face classes will be allowed only in low-risk areas already under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) or in the transition phase between general community quarantine (GCQ) and the new normal,” Roque said in a mix of Filipino and English.
He said the decision to allow limited, localized face-to-face classes will be made with due coordination between the Department of Education (DepEd), the local government unit concerned, and local health authorities.
He also emphasized that stringent health standards must be followed during classes and pilot testing and inspection must be done with the National Task Force for Covid-19 for the observance of required health standards and protocol.
In her presentation, Education Secretary Leonor Briones reiterated that only local government units and schools classified by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) as “low risk” will be allowed to implement limited face-to-face classes.
“Hindi lahat. Hindi pinipilit lahat ng learners na dumaan sa proseso na ito (Not everyone. Not all learners are forced to go through this process), Briones said. “Para lamang ito sa mga lugar na napakababa ng health risks gaya ng mga probinsya, mga isla na zero level ang record sa Covid cases at sa mga lugar na hindi naman naabot ng (This is only for the places with low health risks like provinces, islands with zero-level Covid cases and places not reached by the) coronavirus.”
Briones also stressed that schools that will be allowed to conduct limited face-to-face classes must comply with the requirements set by the IATF.
These include no mask, no entry policy in school premises; handwashing and hand hygiene; regular disinfection in school premises; checking for temperature and respiratory symptoms; and reduction of class size to 15 to 20 maximum and physical arrangement of seats conforming to required distances.
The other health standards that must be observed include intermittent attendance to school only, to complement distance learning; control of the flow of learners and personnel in entrance and exit; no mass gatherings; visible instructions, signage and markings; and preparedness and case management system in coordination with LGUs and local health for contact tracing, testing, isolation, and treatment. (PNA)