It is possible that senior high school students will be the first ones to go back to school if the government allows face-to-face classes again, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Tuesday.
According to Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio, the agency continues to prepare for the dry run of limited face-to-face classes while awaiting the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“Naniniwala kami na iyong mga senior high school learners, lalo na sa tech-voc (technical vocational track), ay pwedeng maging priority,” said San Antonio in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
“Hindi rin sila kailangang sabay-sabay na magpuntahan sa school, staggered din iyan para mas kakaunti ang bata na nasa paaralan,” said San Antonio.
In January, there was supposed to be a dry run for limited face-to-face classes in some schools but Duterte stopped it due to the threat of a new, more contagious variant of COVID-19.
While there are no face-to-face classes yet, DepEd also allegedly monitors the implementation of distance learning as well as providing flexibility in passing the requirements of students.
Senior high students first to go back if face-to-face classes allowed
DepEd’s Curriculum and Instruction strand also plans to extend the school calendar, which is currently scheduled to end on June 11.
“Wala pang definite number of weeks na extension pero isa ‘yan sa tinitingnan namin. Para ang lahat ng mag-aaral, lalo na iyong medyo nagkakaroon ng challenges, ay mabigyan ng pagkakataon na maisumite ang mga kailangang gawin,” said San Antonio.
It was October 5, 2020, when students return to public schools.
More than 25 million are enrolled in basic education this year, according to DepEd data.
The government has already allowed face-to-face classes in medical schools in areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) to ensure a sufficient number of health frontliners in the country.
Apart from schools in the MGCQ areas, colleges and universities can also conduct face-to-face classes for medical courses in areas under the GCQ as long as there is a base hospital for COVID-19 patients.