If President Rodrigo Duterte allows limited face-to-face classes, most likely senior high school students will be the first ones to go back to their respective schools, Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said Tuesday.
In an interview with the ABS-CBN News, San Antonio said that while waiting for the approval of the president and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the DepEd is at the moment preparing and conducting dry runs for limited face-to-face classes.
“Naniniwala kami na iyong mga senior high school learners, lalo na sa tech-voc (technical-vocational track), ay pwedeng maging priority,” said San Antonio.
“Hindi rin sila kailangang sabay-sabay na magpuntahan sa school, staggered din iyan para mas kakaunti ang bata na nasa paaralan,” the DepEd official added.
Last month, the dry run for the conduct of limited face-to-face classes in selected schools nationwide was halted by Duterte due to the threats of the COVID-19 UK variant, a far more contagious coronavirus strain.
In the meantime, while face-to-face classes are still prohibited due to the ongoing pandemic, San Antonio said that DepEd is closely monitoring distance learning, as well as making the issuance of the student’s requirements flexible.
Furthermore, San Antonio reiterated the plan of the agency’s Curriculum and Instruction strand to extend the school calendar which is expected to end this June 11, 2021.
“Wala pang definite number of weeks na extension pero isa yan sa tinitingnan namin. Para ang lahat ng mag-aaral, lalo na iyong medyo nagkakaroon ng challenges, ay mabigyan ng pagkakataon na maisumite ang mga kailangang gawin,” said San Antonio.
Last October 5, public school students nationwide resume their classes amid the pandemic.
According to the DepEd data, approximately 25 million students were enrolled in basic education this year.
Meanwhile, limited face-to-face classes for the medical and allied health programs in various universities are already allowed to resume.