January 27, 2022 — The Department of Education (DepEd) has asked stakeholders for support to ensure that field offices and schools are capacitated and prepared in the eventual expansion of the limited face-to-face classes implementation.

“During the pilot phase, we witnessed how we came together to ensure the safety of our learners and personnel. We believe we can duplicate and even double our efforts in our expansion and make face-to-face classes a possibility for all,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

During the EduAksyon Virtual Press Conference hosted by DepEd-Region II, Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Nepomuceno Malaluan highlighted the importance of the shared responsibility framework implemented in the pilot run and how it contributed to the overall success of the program.

“The framework of shared responsibility will continue and will be as aggressive as the pilot run. We will need help from our LGUs and the parents of the learners to make sure that this expansion will be as successful as our pilot,” Usec. Malaluan noted.

Usec. Malaluan said that DepEd will continue to implement the framework, and the consent of the LGU and parents will still be the main requirement for the face-to-face classes.

In addition, DepEd has ongoing operational steps as preparation for the expansion of the face-to-face classes, including determining the schools that are ready for expansion by February and coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) on regular Alert Level updates since places under Level 3 and Level 4 are not allowed to conduct face-to-face classes

Meanwhile, in terms of vaccination, DepEd reiterated that only vaccinated teaching and non-teaching personnel will be allowed to participate in the expansion of the pilot implementation of the face-to-face classes.

DepEd also shared that they are in close discussions with the Department of Health (DOH) for the pediatric vaccination as vaccinated learners are preferred to join the expansion.

“Since the government has announced the vaccination of school-aged children, participation of vaccinated learners is preferred so we are encouraging the continuous and aggressive vaccination of our students as an additional layer of safety precaution,” Usec. Malaluan shared.

Though the vaccination is voluntary, DepEd clarified that they are not mandating their personnel to be vaccinated as the flexible work-from-home arrangement is still in effect.

“Vaccination is a choice and at the same time, pinapahalagahan at pinoprotektahan natin ang kalusugan ng nakararami. DepEd has to take into consideration the welfare and health of our people, especially our learners,” Sec. Briones emphasized.