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Face-to-face classes to start Jan 2021

By Mar S. Arguelles

Public schools in the Bicol region are prepping up to implement the limited in-person classes in January 2021 in anticipation of the approval of the Department of Education (DepEd) proposal to hold limited “face-to-face” classes in towns and cities with low-risk Covid-19 infection, a ranking education official said on Monday, Dec. 15.

Gilbert Sadsad, DepEd Bicol regional director, said his office has already submitted to the DepEd central office the list of public elementary and K-12 schools that could implement the in-person classes in the 107 towns and seven cities in Bicol.

Sadsad said that after careful consideration of the status of Covid-19 cases in the region, he has recommended that 1,200 or 30 percent of the 3,800 Bicol public schools may pursue a blended learning system, a combination of limited in-person classes and home modular or online classes.

He said the in-person classes would be a pilot program to be implemented in January next year in identified schools situated in low-risk areas, which are endorsed by the Local Government Unit (LGU), DepEd division office or district office and approved by, DepEd regional and central office, and the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) in the regional national levels.

Sadsad said “the preparation is in anticipation for the programs’ approval by January, which would cover elementary schools and senior high school levels.

When asked how the limited in-person classes would be implemented, he said in normal condition, there are 40 students in a classroom, while in adopting the new program, 20 students would hold face-to-face classes for two days while the other half would hold modular or on-line classes at home for three days. The following week, the former group will hold online/modular classes, while the latter group will undergo face-to-face classes.

The in-person classes would be carried out following the strict Covid-19 health protocols such as wearing of mask, face shields, physical distancing, and setting up of plastic barriers/dividers between students and teachers.

Mark Kevin Arroco, DepEd Bicol assistant spokesperson, in an interview, said the limited in-person classes was an off-shoot of resolution from LGUs from Bicol and other regions asking the agency and the IATF to consider holding the face-to-face program in areas where the virus trend is low at the same time relieving the students on the problems of internet connectivity and the accomplishing home modular lesson assignments.

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