November 26, 2020 – The Department of Education (DepEd) will only allow the conduct of face-to-face (F2F) classes upon approval from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

This is the pronouncement of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones in a virtual press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, clarifying that no face-to-face classes is still the standing policy of the government.

“Hanggang ngayon, iyon ang policy [no face-to-face classes] ng President [at] hindi pa niya binabago,” Secretary Briones said.

DepEd, though, is studying the possibility of conducting limited face-to-face classes for next year, upon the greenlight from the Office of the President.

“We are preparing a report for the President on our current experience with the opening of classes, at klaro naman na kung magkaroon ng face to face, it will be very limited to areas which are absolutely safe, there will be conditions from the Department of Health; there will also be conditions coming from us. Hindi po lahat-lahat, [hindi] sabay-sabay iyan na mag-face to face, kung payag si President” Sec. Briones clarified.

Secretary Briones also emphasized that the clearance would come from the Department of Health and the said national COVID-19 task force since these bureaus are responsible for the assessment of the health situation in areas around the Philippines.

“At saka, depende sa approach iyan kasi iyong number of students, etc. So we are [also] now looking into that. But uulitin ko, definitely not this year at definitely walang mga arrangements right now with kung sinumang mga grupo na magpi-face to face at this time because the President has not made any pronouncement at all. Pero [patuloy kaming] magri-report kami sa kaniya,” Secretary Briones noted.

Meanwhile, after consulting education stakeholders, the Department is set to give an updated report on the opening of classes last October 5, 2020.

Meanwhile, the Education chief also directed a study on reconceptualizing learning spaces post-COVID, which include not just classroom, but homes, community spaces, and virtual space.

During the press briefing, Secretary Briones also reported on the assistance for private Schools/private school teachers, provision of supplementary learning materials to typhoon-hit provinces, and school calendar adjustments.