November 16, 2021, our aspiration becomes a reality as about 5,000 learners stepped foot again in nearly 100 public schools for our pilot implementation of face-to-face classes.

I am grateful to all the people and institutions, particularly our partner DOH and our LGUs, that have been supportive of our efforts to reintroduce face-to-face learning modality amidst the public health situation. I am especially thankful to our teachers and learners and their parents for joining this exercise and strictly observing the prescribed health and safety protocols.

I have been monitoring on-ground reports of our pilot public schools and I am touched by the photos of our learners and teachers expressing their happiness and excitement for this day.

The first day of the pilot run was generally successful and I am confident that we can sustain our best practices in ensuring the safety of our participating learners and teachers. Our DepEd executives also physically made rounds in these schools to observe, with the end goal of making recommendations for the improvement of our policies and protocols.

However, we also observed minor challenges during the start of our pilot run. For instance, in Zambales, three qualified schools had to delay their start for the pilot after some teachers tested positive in the antigen test prior to start of classes and are awaiting for confirmatory test results. We are monitoring their situation closely and they will resume once they are cleared by the local health authorities.

With 20 private schools set to follow suit next week, and more schools to be included in the coming weeks, I enjoin my fellow DepEd officials and our personnel and partners to not lose sight of our ultimate goal of resuming face-to-face classes in all our schools nationwide soon.

Let us reaffirm our commitment to support these pilot schools while preparing the entire basic education system for a brave, new world.

Sama sama nating isasakatuparan ang Ligtas na Balik Eskwela!