The Department of Education (DepEd) is open to the possibility of ‘limited’ face-to-face classes in areas with low risk coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections. 

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said at a public briefing on Thursday that the limited face-to face classes were deliberated with President Rodrigo Duterte and the Cabinet members Wednesday evening.

“Kagabi lamang, pinag-usapan ito sa Gabinete na kasama si Presidente Duterte,” she said.

“Sa tingin namin, sa mga tinatawag na low risk areas, puwede siguro klaruhin natin ‘yung limited. Hindi ‘yung araw-araw nandoon ‘yung mga bata. Limited na face to face, pero may mga condition,” she said.

She highlighted that the proposed classes will only happen once or twice every week.

“Maliwanag sa Presidente, binigyan niya talaga ng diin yan: limited face-to-face,” she stressed.

Briones was confident in June that face-to-face classes won’t happen until a vaccine is found and made available. 

Areas should be classified by the Inter-Agency Task Force as ‘low risk’ before allowing a face-to-face classes. 

Briones noted that the facility should strictly follow minimum health standards, such as social distancing and hand washing as well as enough stock of medicines and a health facility nearby.

Classes are scheduled to start on August 24.

Among the reported 20,220,000 students who enrolled for this school year, 200,000 to 250,000 students are from private schools. Public schools closed its enrolment on July 15 but late enrollees are still accepted until the class opening. (RJ Espartinez)