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258 schools are being prepared by DepEd-12 for the ‘expansion’ of F2F programs.

GENERAL SANTO DOMINGO – An education official here announced Monday that the Department of Education in Soccsksargen (DepEd-12) is preparing 258 schools for the “progressive expansion” of restricted in-person sessions in the region.

Glenn Arellano Bisnar, DepEd-12 chief education supervisor of policy, planning, and research division, said in a text message that they are ready to submit findings from the pilot phase of in-person sessions from November 15 to December 17 last year to the DepEd central office in Manila.

During the pilot phase, students in grades 1 through 3 as well as senior high school students were able to attend restricted in-person classes.

He stated that 258 schools in Soccsksargen are currently prepared to begin the gradual expansion of face-to-face (F2F) sessions this month.

“As of Tuesday, 132 schools, including nine from South Cotabato and four from Tacurong City, have confirmed to implement F2F lessons,” Bisnar added.

He also mentioned that six more schools in South Cotabato have verified that F2F programs will begin on March 7.

Six schools in Koronadal city will also participate in the limited in-person seminars, he stated on March 14.

According to him, the “progressive expansion” included private schools, special education institutes, and the alternative learning system.

Before resuming classes, schools must complete the DepEd’s safety assessment instrument and obtain authorization from the local government unit and students’ parents.

According to Bisnar, the DepEd -12 is in continual contact with the Department of Health (DOH) regarding the implementation of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) health guidelines for F2F classes.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in-person lessons were discontinued in March 2020, forcing Philippine schools to switch to a distance learning scheme, which proved difficult for many instructors and families in areas where access to the internet and gadgets is limited.

The provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani, as well as the cities of Kidapawan, Tacurong, Koronadal, and General Santos, are all covered by Soccsksargen.

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