If the pilot program is successful, the Department of Education (DepEd) plans to expand face-to-face sessions to all grade levels by January of next year.

According to Undersecretary Nepomuceno, DepEd is planning to expand to higher grade levels in the pilot run phase from the present Kindergarten to Grade 3 levels.

“With the condition that it will not depart from the pilot character, we are accelerating the completion of the pilot phase. We intend to submit our report to the President by the end of December. We anticipate the recommendation of an expansion by next year,” Malaluan said.

He noted that DepEd and the Department of Health have been given authority by President Duterte to determine the number of schools that will take part in the expanded face-to-face pilot run.

“Scale is one of the key considerations that we will be working with. It is manageable now but when we scale it up, there will be more to manage at all levels of governance in the DepEd,” he said.

Malaluan said the agency is okay with the first few days of pilot resumption, despite some glitches like teachers testing positive in an antigen test in Zambales.

Thet hree public schools were able to resume classes after a RT-PCR test showed that they were negative for COVID-19.

He said this showed that the department and other stakeholders such as parents and local government units are ready with contingency measures.

“We are very happy, parents are happy. Teachers are happy to see our students come back to our schools. This pilot is the first phase toward an expanded phase that we hope will be a smooth pilot,” he added.

Malaluan assured that all teachers taking part in the face-to-face pilot are completely vaccinated.
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