The Department of Education (DepEd) has set November 2 as the return to classroom in-person classes in public and private schools nationwide.
DepEd Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, in a virtual press briefing said schools will be given options of in-person, blended, or full-distance learning only until October 31. But after this, all enrolled students will be required to attend face-to-face classes, under DepEd Order (DO) 034, series of 2022.
“This is mandatory, they are all required to go to school and the mandate is really to eventually go face-to-face. Everybody who’s enrolled should abide by the Department Order. Parents are also encouraged to ensure that their students go to school. Again, we’re trying to do some educational recovery,” he said.
Densing said the DepEd order generally applies to all parties, regardless of the emergency alert level status. “Regardless of the alert level, we will move or go on with the face-to-face classes. However, we will now leave it to the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Infectious diseases, that if there is such a surge, and the Department of Health would eventually recommend that we cease to do face-to-face classes because of a surge, we will just follow, the decision,” he said.
Some some parents, however, have reportedly expressed skepticism over the “mandatory” approach considering the possible surge of infections. Jeanet Bares, a 46-year-old mother of six kids in Cavite, is one of them.
“What if the city where the students reside imposes heightened alert level status? We cannot just let kids go out if there is a surging Covid-19 infections. I’m not in favor of since some of our fellow parents are not 100% vaccinated, It’s better to impose appropriate protocols to ensure safety for all,” she said in Tagalog.
Maricel Estoque, a 43-year-old mom, however, said the DepEd move will be helpful to her three children, given the long halt of their in-person learning setup.
“It’s better to return to face-to-face classes. Honestly, in the last two years, many young children did nor learn much as desired. This is true especially for grade schoolers since not all parents are capable to teaching school lessons to kids,” she explained.
The DepEd, meanwhile said it would no longer demand additional requirements from schools before they could resume a five-day in-person class setup. “There will be no inspections, tools, or any additional requirements for schools to reopen and implement five-day in-person classes, except for compliance with the usual pre-pandemic regulatory permits and licenses, as required by law or ordinances,” Densing sstressed.
He also assured that DepEd regional offices will be provided funds needed to ensure the safe reopening of face-to-face classes, but it will be up to the regional offices to set strategies for the classroom capacity of the schools for learners.
“We have directed our regional directors to determine and to ensure there is social distancing within the classroom. I believe the capacity of the rooms really varies. There are rooms that have more seat capacity, there are rooms that can safely hold only 30 or 20 learners. We will leave it to our regional directors to to ensure social distancing within the classroom,” he added.
The DepEd released last Monday its DO 034, which states that the 203 days of Academic Year 2022-2023 for public schools will begin on August 22, 2022 (Monday) and will end on July 7, 2023.
Meanwhile, the official enrollment schedule for all levels starts on July 25 and last until August 22.