So far, 59 schools have received approval from the Department of Health (DOH) to participate in the pilot run of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) face-to-face classes scheduled for November 15 this year. 

However, this tally might go up even further. According to the health agency, there’s a chance that the national government will allow classes to be held in person in some parts of the National Capital Region (NCR), specifically in areas that infections are low. 

DOH Undersecretary Rose Marie Vergeire said an area should be classified as a minimal risk before being considered as a candidate for face-to-face learning. 

“So, for example, if NCR (National Capital Region) will be able to bring down the cases, and if the hospital utilization goes down and we are classified as alert level two, that can be included,” Vergeire shared in a briefing yesterday (October 7). 

“But to clarify, we are not talking about large areas. For example, in the National Capital Region, if there is a school in a barangay that is low risk, even if NCR is under alert level four, it can also be included. But for now, we are studying it thoroughly,” she explained further. 

At present, 59 schools have been approved for the initial run of the face-to-face classes. However, a total of 120 are going to participate. 

Education Secretary Leonor Briones assured that they’ll be monitoring the situation closely. 

“And every week, we will review it. If there is reduction in the dangers of COVID-19 in other places, we would expand the list. But we won’t move without consulting the Department of Health and our experts,” she said. 

The pilot study will run until January 31 next year. After that, DepEd and DOH will evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative and expand it if conditions are ideal. 

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