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The Department of Education (DepEd) expressed optimism that all schools in the country would eventually transition to limited face-to-face classes in school year 2022-2023, an official said on Friday, December 17.
“We are very optimistic that we can already transition to the new normal phase starting 2022-2023,” Education Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma said during the Senate basic education panel’s hearing on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes.
The pilot run of limited face-to-face classes which initially started with 100 schools on November 15 ended on Friday. On December 6, more public and private schools in different provinces joined the pilot run, totaling to 287. This, however, is just a fraction of some 60,000 public and private schools in the country.
The DepEd earlier scheduled the end of the pilot run on January 31, 2022.
“When we conclude the pilot implementation by today, we will be consolidating the data that we gathered for the four weeks,” Garma said.
The education official said that the pilot run of face-to-face classes would determine the best practices to be adopted in the new normal of classroom learning in the country. The DepEd prioritized kindergarten and grades 1 to 3 because students in these levels are in their formative years and they need more guidance from their teachers. Senior high school students were also chosen because some of their subjects require “hands-on” training.
Garma said that for the expansion phase, which is scheduled in January 2022, more grade levels and schools could already start limited face-to-face classes.
In a Rappler Talk interview on October 21, Garma had said that the “new normal” in education would not be a “purely classroom setup.”
“What I see is that the new normal would be a combination of the school-based and home-based. Hindi na talaga ‘yung purely classroom ang ating new normal in education (The new normal in education won’t be a purely classroom setup anymore),” he said.
On Thursday, December 16, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that there were no talks yet to postpone the expansion of face-to-face classes after the detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant cases in the country. She added that health department was coordinating with the DepEd and Commission on Higher Education to ensure that there would not be COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.
As of Friday, Garma said that no cases had been recorded so far during the first four weeks of limited in-person classes. – Rappler.com