What is limited face-to-face learning?
Limited face-to-face learning is a combination of distance learning modality and an in-school face-to-face setup. It will utilize Self-learning Materials (SLMs) and classroom learning “half-day every other week,” for a maximum of four hours depending on the grade level.
Students in approved areas have the option to participate in the pilot run or to remain in an online learning setup. The educational sector made it clear that “no learner shall be forced to attend the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes.” Educators who will participate in the pilot run are required to be fully vaccinated to ensure safety.
As of Sept. 20, only the Department of Education (DepEd) has released guidelines for the limited F2F classes.
120 public and private schools under Alert Level 1 areas who have passed the School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT) were approved to take part in the pilot run.
Each grade level can only accommodate a maximum of the following students:
- Kindergarten: 12 students
- Grades 1 to 3: 16 students
- Senior High School (Technical-Vocational laboratories): 12 students
- Senior High School (Classroom): 20 students
F2F classes should only last three hours at most for Kindergarten to Grade 3 students, and four hours and 30 minutes maximum for Senior High School students.
As for Commission on Higher Education (CHED), University of the Philippines-Manila (UP-M), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), and the Our Lady of Fatima University-Valenzela (OLFU-V) were initially allowed to conduct limited F2F classes for internships and clinical clerkships last January.
The approval was later extended to all health-allied degree programs on Jan. 26.
On Sept. 28, President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the following programs authorized by CHED Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to commence limited F2F classes:
- Engineering and Technology programs
- Hospitality/ Hotel and Restaurant Management
- Tourism/ Travel Management
- Marine Engineering
- Marine Transportation
These courses were approved as these "require hands-on experience" to learn from. CHED is currently accepting and reviewing applications for the expansion of flexible learning (Online, Offline, Blended) from other colleges and universities.
The official start of the limited F2F pilot run has yet to be announced, but it is anticipated to be “closely monitored” and evaluated for two months.
The next step
Regarding the future of education in the country, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones has said that the direction will depend on the results of the pilot run.
“Kung safe ang pilot and if it is effective, then we will gradually increase the number of schools. Ang mahalaga, babantayan natin ang risk assessment. Kapag may pagbabago sa risk assessment, talagang ititigil natin," she stated.