Last February, the Department of Education (DepEd) has started planning on holding dry runs of limited face-to-face classes once the vaccination program is set to begin in the Philippines.
The preparation for possible limited face-to-face classes dry runs has been ongoing while the agency is waiting for President Duterte's approval along with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to Education, according to Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio.
San Antonio claimed that senior high school students, especially the ones taking the technical-vocational track, might be the ones to have face-to-face classes once they are vaccinated since it will be less probable for the younger children to get vaccines.
However, he also clarified that their proposal is "not final" and that they will adhere to the President's decision and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases.
He also pointed out that face-to-face classes will not be conducted in places with high-risks of COVID-19.
“Yung mga basehan namin ay maliwanag din, hindi po ito pwedeng gawin sa lugar na mataas ang cases ng COVID-19 at hindi po tayo magpro-proceed kung mismong lokal government at 'yung mga magulang ay ayaw, kahit po magkaroon nito kung ayaw ng mga magulang hindi po sila pipilitin (We have a clear basis, we will not conduct it in areas with high COVID-19 cases, and we will not proceed if the local government and the parents do not agree, even if there are face-to-face classes, it will not be forced upon them),” San Antonio said in a DZBB radio interview.
On another note, during an interview with Radio DWIZ, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said, "We now have 400 out of 1,500 LGUs that are zero-COVID, and some of these never had COVID-19 cases because they are in far-flung areas, in islands, in areas we consider 'low-risk.' I think they can now slowly open up their schools."
While there are still no final plans for face-to-face classes, the DepEd has been monitoring distance learning implementation and has been finding ways to respond to the concerns of the students and giving them flexibility for the submission of requirements.