THE Department of Education (DepEd) said Monday, December 6, 2021, that it has not recorded yet any untoward incident since the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes started last month.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the pilot implementation of in-person classes in 292 schools nationwide has been smooth so far.

About 118 schools, including 18 private schools, started the limited in-person classes in November, while the 174 schools, which include 28 in Metro Manila, started holding face-to-face classes on Monday, December 6.

Part of safety protocols being imposed in the schools were the maintenance of physical distancing among students and teachers, the mandatory wearing of face masks, and frequent handwashing.

Based on the guidelines approved earlier by President Rodrigo Duterte, kindergarten classes will be allowed for up to 12 students, while Grade 1 to 3 classes will have a maximum of 16 students. Classes may last up to three hours.

Technical vocational classes can have 20 students at a time.

Malaluan said they have also yet to record Covid-19 transmission among students and teachers taking part in the pilot implementation.

“Wala pa naman actual confirmed positive case of Covid-19 in all participating pilot schools,” he said.

He said the agency had also given out instructions to other schools, especially the non-participating, to prepare for the expansion of the program.

Malaluan said they are also closely coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) for possible adjustments amid the threat brought about by the Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The pilot run will end on January 31, 2022. It will be assessed by the end of December this year.

By February 2022, the DepEd will present to Duterte its assessment of the pilot run.

The DepEd aims to expand the face-to-face classes by March 7, 2022. (SunStar Philippines)