While a vaccine against the COVID-19 is already in sight, Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Tuesday said that the conduct of face-to-face classes will definitely not happen this year.

BRIONES - No face-to-face classes this year – DepEd
Education Secretary Leonor Briones (SCREENSHOT / RTVM / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We are studying that possibility but definitely not this year and definitely not until the President makes a pronouncement,” Briones said during the press briefing of Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Jr.

Briones, however, said the DepEd is already preparing a report to be submitted to President Duterte on the possible conduct of limited in-person classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, Briones said, will include the current experience of students and teachers in the distance learning set-up. If in-person classes would resume, she clarified that “it will be very limited to areas which are absolutely safe.” She added that this will also depend on conditions set by the Department of Health (DOH), the DepEd, and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

“It’s not going to be like everyone will simultaneously hold face-to-face classes, it will be very selective and will not happen this year [because] the President has not spoken on that subject at all,” Briones said. “If there are areas that are safe, we get clearance from the DOH and IATF because they are the ones who assess the health situation,” she added.

Asked if the conduct of face-to-face classes will already be possible in 2021, Briones said that it will depend on the “approach” to be used. “It will depend on the approach to be used, the number of students, and so on,” she added.

Currently, all students under the basic education level are under home-based learning or distance learning set-up. They are learning lessons using multiple learning delivery modalities such as modular (printed and offline), online, radio or television-based instruction or a combination of these modes (blended learning).

“We are now looking into that but definitely, not this year and there are no arrangements with any group that we will hold face-to-face at this time because the President has not made any pronouncement at all,” Briones ended.

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