FOLLOWING the “very successful” pilot run of the face-to-face classes in 97 public schools on November 15, Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said that 20 private schools are also set to conduct the in-person learning on November 22.

“[It’s] very successful [because we had] 100 pilot schools, [then] 97 [went] full blast….three deferred,” Briones said, responding to the question of the BusinessMirror in an online press briefing on the assessment of the pilot implementation of the face-to-face classes.

Briones said three schools in Zambales postponed the pilot run after some teachers tested positive from Covid-19 in the antigen test.

However, Briones said these schools may conduct the pilot run today (November 17) after confirmatory tests yielded negative results.

Briones added, “all our planning, calculations, preparations paid off.”

Another indicator of the success of the pilot implementation, she noted, is the fact that President Duterte is now allowing the Department of Health (DOH) and the DepEd to do the evaluation and to expand by using the same standards.

She expressed hope that by next year, the face-to-face classes will be fully implemented.

Private schools

Director Jocelyn Andaya of the Bureau of Curriculum Development said that 79 private schools nationwide submitted to the Regional Offices (ROs) their expression of intent to participate in the pilot run.

Andaya said each region was requested to nominate a maximum of three private schools. Thirty-three private schools were nominated by 12 ROs to the DepEd Central Office and were checked by the Private Education Office (PEO).

“No private schools were nominated in Region II, Cordillera Administrative Region and Region IV-B due to their alert level classification. No private schools were recommended by Region IV-A based on their assessment of applications,” she said.

She noted that those not selected for pilot run will be considered in the expansion phase.

PEO prioritized the nominated private schools for inclusion in the 20 schools for pilot run based on these criteria:

1. Located in a different area of the region from the participating public schools (e.g. if the public school is in a rural part, prioritize a private school in an urban part of the region);

2. Those with a different program offering from the participating public schools e.g if the participating public schools are K-3, prioritize the private school offering Senior High School Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (SHS TVL)

3. Prioritize private schools:

■ that can accommodate more classes/sections

■ that are walking distance from the learners’ and school personnel’s homes

■ with more fully-vaccinated school personnel

■ that cater to learners with special needs, Indigenous People, etc.

■ SHS TVL that participate in the SHS Voucher Program

Financially geared up

The DepEd, meanwhile, said that participating public schools are financially geared up for the pilot face-to-face implementation.

Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla reported that with the 100 public schools already identified and finalized, the Department has released financial guidelines to field offices in support of the operationalization of the pilot stage.

“[We have issued] guidelines to release the P100,000 to serve as initial funding support to schools with the list we have downloaded last week; the allotment covers P 100,000 per school and also included here is the cash equivalent,” Sevilla noted.

Sevilla said the DepEd-DOH Joint Memorandum Circular necessitates the financial guidance on the issuance’s key elements such as Safe Operations, Teaching and Learning, Including the Most Marginalized, and Ensuring well-being and protection.

In addition, Sevilla DepEd is on standby for possible adjustments and support, including the contingency of a participating school being forced to close due to a Covid-19 surge in their locality.





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