The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday said only 30 schools out of the initial 59 were ready to implement pilot face-to-face classes next month.

Initially, the DepEd handpicked 59 schools from a pool of 638 nominated schools to launch the in-person classes.

DepEd Asst. Secretary Malcolm Garma said 29 schools backed out from the pilot after failing to gain the approval of their respective local government units.

The 30 schools are mostly situated in the Visayas and Mindanao. Only three schools, all in the Bicol Region, will join the pilot in Luzon.

However, Garma said 46 more schools had requested to join the pilot of in-person classes.

President Rodrigo Duterte in September approved limited face-to-face classes for the first time amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

These classes are subject to a safety assessment by the DepEd and the approval of local government units.

Students qualified to participate in the pilot must provide signed consent forms from their parents before being allowed to attend.

Participation of school personnel and learners in the in-person classes will be voluntary.

The pilot face-to-face classes will commence on Nov. 15. John Ezekiel J. Hirro