April 4, 2022 – The Department of Education (DepEd) reported that 17,479 public and private schools are nominated by regional offices to join the progressive expansion phase of face to face classes, a significant increase since the start of the year.

Based on the quick count as of March 28, 2022, 17,054 public and 425 private schools are ready for the progressive expansion of the     face-to-face classes      and those which are either fully compliant with the Department’s School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT) or compliant but with pending local government unit concurrence.

Meanwhile, 13,692 public and private schools are currently participating in the progressive expansion of face-to-face classes     , or 78.3% of the nominated schools.

“We are optimistic with this upward trend on the number of schools already implementing classroom-based learning. With support from the Central and Regional Offices, we are keen on reintroducing physical classes to more localities in the country,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

Last February 2, 2022, only 6,686 schools nationwide passed the SSAT, of which 6,586 were public schools and 100 were private schools.

With the growing number of schools participating, DepEd is set to release policies related to the progressive expansion of face-     to-     face classes, including the updated SSAT.

“The SSAT will ensure that our schools are ready for the changes in managing face to face classes while guiding our field offices in the provision of logistical and technical assistance needed by schools,” Secretary Briones noted.

The Education chief also added that the SSAT is not the final determinant of participation in the progressive expansion and is only meant to prepare schools and assess their readiness for their eventual reopening.

In the latest report, three regions reported that more than half of their respective schools are nominated for return to in-person classes, including CAR (55.9%), Region IX (53.1%), and Region III (51.9%).

In terms of the number of nominated schools, Region III topped the list with 2,686, followed by Region VIII (Eastern Visayas) and Region VII (Central Visayas) with 1,987 and 1,585, respectively.

Moreover, there are approximately 3.1      million learners who are participating in classroom-based learning nationwide.