(MNS Photo)

MANILA, Nov 15 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Education (DepEd) has yet to pick a school in Metro Manila where face-to-face classes can be pilot-tested amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma on Monday.

Garma said they are in constant communication with Metro Manila mayors in order to identify these schools.

According to Garma, they are eyeing one school in every Metro Manila area to be included in the pilot run of face-to-face classes, which has started in several areas on Monday, November 15, 2021.

“So yan muna ang titignan natin at pag-uusapan natin, kung ano yung aktuwal na bilang na maisasama natin sa pilot face-to-face sa National Capital Region,” he said.

Pilot face-to-face classes started on Monday, subject to strict health protocols, in areas deemed safe by both the DepEd and the Department of Health. A total of 100 public schools participated in the pilot run, with 22 private schools scheduled to join on November 22.

“We are happy to see our learners inside our classrooms as we recognize the significance of face-to-face learning in their social development,” the DepEd said in a statement on Monday.

The department said more schools both public and private join the pilot run “in the coming weeks.”

Assessment period for the initial run of pilot face-to-face classes will be until December 22, 2021. The pilot study is set to end on January 31, 2022.

Results of the pilot testing will be presented to President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2022. If all goes well, expansion will start on March 7, 2022.

Under the pilot period, only 12 students will be allowed to be physically present in classrooms in Kidgerten, 16 in Grades 1 to 3, and 20 for Grades 4 to 12. For laboratory and workshops, 20 students will be allowed to be physically present.

Consent from parents are needed for the students to be able to attend classes.

The DepEd said only fully vaccinated teachers and staff members will be allowed entry to schools.  (MNS)

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