MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Wednesday, February 2, that it has authorized its regional units to start the “progressive expansion phase” of limited face-to-face classes following the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The DepEd said that its regional directors have submitted a list of 6,686 schools nationwide that have passed the School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT).
Of the list of schools identified, 304 public schools are located in Alert Level 2 areas, where face-to-face classes are allowed for basic education students.
- Metro Manila (118 schools) – The 28 schools that started in-person classes for a pilot run last December 2021 will resume face-to-face instructions on February, while the schools for the expansion phase would also start on that date.
- Cagayan Valley (12 schools) – The 12 schools in Batanes are still securing approval from their respective local government units. If they get approved, face-to-face classes in Batanes will start within February 7 to 11.
- Central Luzon (106 schools) – The 106 schools are in four schools division offices in Bulacan and they will start face-to-face classes on February 21.
- Calabarzon (57 schools) – A total of 21 schools in Rizal and 36 schools in Cavite, both under Alert Level 2, are set to join the expanded phase of limited face-to-face classes. These schools have complied with the requirements of the SSAT and are now in the process of securing approval from their LGUs. Expanded face-to-face classes will start on February 14.
- Eastern Visayas (16 schools) – Three schools in Southern Leyte will start classes on February 7, while seven schools in Maasin City and six schools in Biliran City will kick off on February 14.
“This list will progressively increase as the rest of the schools are able to address their respective SSAT gaps,” the DepEd said.
The DepEd has yet to provide the list of the schools. Rappler will update this story once we receive more information.
“As of today, no face-to-face classes are ongoing because the schools are on their mid-year break for February 2-5 under SY 2021-2022 Calendar,” the agency said.
“The rest of the regions, as well as divisions in the above regions outside of those already under Alert Level 2, are continuing their preparations for the expanded phase of face-to-face classes in anticipation of improvement in the COVID-19 Alert Level in their respective areas,” the DepEd added.
The expansion phase is the second stage of the Philippines’ three-way plan to reopen schools for face-to-face classes after almost two years of closures due to the pandemic. The first phase or the pilot run lasted for a month from November to December in 2021 and was participated by 287 public and private schools.
Under the expansion phase, schools may already include other grade levels based on their capacity. For the pilot run, select grade levels were only allowed – kindergarten, grades 1 to 3, and senior high school. (READ: What we know so far: Pilot run of limited face-to-face classes in PH)
The Philippines, one of the most virus-hit countries in Asia, was the last country in the world to reopen schools for in-person classes since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March 2020.