Education Secretary Leonor Briones said Monday face-to-face classes would remain barred until a Covid-19 vaccine is available to the public.

“We will comply with the president’s directive to postpone face-to-face classes until a vaccine is available,” Briones said in a statement.

The school year will open on Aug. 24, with schools to implement blended and distance learning methods using the internet, television or radio where needed.

Briones said learning through most of these methods had been used for decades, and would just be “prepared and updated” for this year.

“Indeed, it is a challenging task for us at the Department of Education to prepare our schools in a different set-up but we are committed to our duty to make education available and thriving, even in the most difficult time,” Briones said.

As of Monday morning, there were already 6,415,678 enrollees, and each were asked in a survey what gadgets were available to them so teachers could adjust accordingly to their capabilities, she said.

“Kasama doon sa enrollment forms nila, mag-indicate sila kung mayroon ba silang laptop, mayroon ba silang tablet, mayroon ba silang radyo, mayroon ba silang telebisyon para iyong teacher ay ma-adjust niya iyong kaniyang learning strategy sa estado ng mga bata,” Briones said in a Palace briefing Monday.

The education chief said that education, even amid a pandemic, must continue.

“So itong lahat, tutulong sa atin nang patuloy, kasi ang motto natin sa DepEd: Learning must continue. Education must continue. Nagawa natin ito noong nagkaroon tayo ng sigalot sa Marawi, kung may bagyo, may earthquake, pinagpatuloy natin ang edukasyon,” she said.

“And ngayon, with Covid, sabi natin ipagpatuloy pa rin natin ang edukasyon dahil children cannot wait; education cannot wait.” John Ezekiel J. Hirro