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DepEd says 1,114 schools 'nominated' to join dry run of face-to-face classes

The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Wednesday, December 16, that 1,114 schools have been nominated to join the pilot implementation or dry run of face-to-face classes by January next year.

In a virtual press briefing on Wednesday morning, Secretary Leonor Briones said 3 areas, including virus epicenter Metro Manila, asked to not be included in the dry run. The other two were Davao and Cotabato.

"So far, our regional directors last week reported a total of 1,114 schools out of 61,000," Briones said.

She noted that the actual number of schools that will participate in the dry run, which is scheduled to take place from January 11 to 23, will be "very much lesser than the 1,114."

The schools were nominated by DepEd's regional units. On December 28, Briones will select the final pilot schools.

On Monday, December 14, Malacañang said that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a trial run of face-to-face classes in areas deemed at "low risk" for COVID-19 to take place in 2021.

"The pilot shall be done under strict health and safety measures, and where there is commitment for shared responsibility among DepEd, local government units, and parents," said Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

The President decision goes against his declaration last May to prohibit face-to-face classes until a vaccine is available to Filipinos. During that time, the DepEd had also been considering allowing face-to-face classes in low-risk areas as the August school opening neared.

Briones said that the country will do the pilot testing to prepare the agency for the resumption of face-to-face classes in the country once the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DepEd said the dry run would help them and policymakers to come up with "more comprehensive recommendations and initiatives for learning continuity moving forward."

Briones reiterated that students' participation in the dry run will be "voluntary" and will require parent's consent.

Due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, schools in the country shifted to distance learning , which is a mix of online classes and printed learning modules. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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