Face-to-face classes to continue despite Omicron threat –Briones

Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Friday said the conduct of face-to-face classes in the country will continue despite the threat of COVID-19’s Omicron variant.

At a virtual press conference, Briones pointed statements by experts that the Omicron variant may not be as dangerous as the earlier variants.

“We cannot wait for Omicron to come in, then we will cancel face-to-face again,” she said.

“The news so far gives comfort and hope, coming from experts that Omicron may not be as dangerous as the earlier versions. So tuloy pa rin tayo (we will still proceed),” she added.

The Education official noted that the country has yet to report a case of Omicron variant.

The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said that no case of Omicron variant was detected from the latest whole genome sequencing it conducted.

“Of the 48 samples sequenced, 38 (79.17%) Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases; the rest had non-VOC (variant of concern) lineages or had no lineages detected,” the DOH said in a statement.

Earlier, the DepEd expressed optimism that the conduct of face-to-face classes will move to its “expansion phase” by January 2022.

DepEd Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma said after the pilot implementation this December, more grade levels and longer class hours will be considered.

“This would happen by the early part of next year. We are optimistic that we could start the expansion phase by January,” he said.

With the ongoing pilot face-to-classes, only Kindergarten to Grade 3 as well as Senior High School students are participating.

So far, a total of 272 public schools and 18 private schools have been conducting face-to-face classes in the country under the pilot implementation, according to Garma.–LDF, GMA News

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