October 26, 2021 – The Department of Education (DepEd) fully understands and respects the concerns of parents of our learners in the implementation of pilot face-to-face classes in low-risk areas.

We reiterate that stringent preparations and protocols have been established to provide maximum protection for our learners and other participating stakeholders in this critical undertaking. As of today, around 90 schools will participate in the pilot run on November 15.

Anchored on our shared responsibility framework, the guidelines of DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH) provide specific operational rules and contingencies to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in schools. These policies have been consulted to and endorsed by child health expert organizations.

In terms of vaccination, around 93.2% of teachers and staff of participating schools are vaccinated. We also secured the commitment of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) to prioritize jabs for teachers.

Nonetheless, we would like to emphasize that the pilot run of face-to-face classes will be voluntary. Parents must provide written consent allowing their children to join. No parent shall be forced to send their children in this modality since the schools will still hold distance learning classes.

With the help of our partners, the Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the National Task Force for COVID-19, professional organizations, especially our child health experts, we are committed to proactively monitor and assess trends and concerns about the risk of COVID-19 in schools. And together, we must take care of each other as we gradually reopen our schools for our children.