Millions of students headed back to their classrooms on Monday, August 22, for the first time in more than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic caused an abrupt shift to distance learning.
Vice President Sara Duterte, who also sits as the secretary of the Department of Education, led the opening of the school year 2022-2023 at Dinalupihan Elementary School in Bataan.
Duterte said the return to face-to-face classes was a “victory,” adding that the COVID-19 pandemic “should not be an excuse to keep students from schools.”
Over 28.03 million students have enrolled for the new academic year in public primary and secondary schools nationwide.
A total of 24,175 schools will implement five days of face-to-face classes and 29,721 schools will hold classes through blended learning based on DepEd data.
But by November 2, all public and private schools all over the country must shift to five days of in-person classes.
At a public high school in Trece Martires City, Cavite, learners trooped to their classrooms while adhering to COVID-19 health protocols such as checking of their body temperature, wearing of face mask, and proper handwashing.
Students and school personnel are allowed to attend to face-to-face classes regardless of their vaccination status as the DepEd is implementing a “no discrimination policy.”
The school opening comes amid increasing COVID-19 infections due to the spread of Omicron subvariants. In Cavite, there are still 904 active cases of the disease as of August 23.
Classes in public schools and work in government offices have also been suspended on August 23 and 24 in Calabarzon and other areas due to the inclement weather brought by Severe Tropical Storm Florita.
The Philippines was one of the last few countries to transition back to face-to-face learning instruction after having enforced one of the world’s longest lockdowns due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of DepEd Tayo Cavite Province official Facebook page