Secretary Leonor Briones of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday said they will consider including Negros Oriental in the pilot testing areas for face-to-face classes in the near future.
Briones was speaking to DepEd officials and the media in a virtual presser via Zoom on updates regarding blended learning and other concerns in the education sector amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
She said the program was supposed to start this January but with the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant, President Rodrigo Duterte recalled his approval to hold pilot testing of face-to-face classes in selected areas, Briones said.
She said that based on a report from DepEd Region 7 regional director Dr. Salustiano Jimenez, Gov. Roel Degamo was reluctant on the idea of holding face-to-face classes due to the surge in Covid-19 cases in the province.
Some 118 schools in the province would have been considered for the pilot testing which is now suspended, but the local government unit of La Libertad has intimated its desire to participate in the pilot testing, Briones said.
“If they can comply with requirements, we will consider them, however, there are some requirements that must be met,” she said.
The considerations would include the approval of the LGU, certain requirements from the Department of Health, written parents’ consent for their children who will be attending face-to-face classes, transportation, and canteens that provide food for the students, Briones said.
The DepEd chief, who hails from Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, said they need to minimize the risk of students contracting Covid-19, noting that only very few children were infected with the novel coronavirus because of the agency’s policies.
The parents must be aware of the implications of this program if they would allow their children to attend the face-to-face classes, she said.
In the meantime, the President has not yet reconsidered the holding of pilot testing for face-to-face classes due to the threat of the new Covid-19 variants, she added.
“But for sure, once the program will be implemented, we will consider Negros Oriental because it is very active in education,” Briones said. (PNA)