May 19, 2024

The Department of Education is currently streamlining the guidelines on health protocols to allow more schools to reopen for face-to-face classes.
DepEd Asec. Malcolm Garma, in a press conference held in Baguio City on March 22, said they are finalizing the latest version of the School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT), which is the requirements set for schools in order to open for in-person classes.
He said in the latest version, they have applied the lessons learned from the pilot schools where some of the requirements are not practical for other schools to follow.
“We have already adjusted some policies and regulations to be more relevant to the current situation and at the same time, it’s not static but dynamic to whatever situation that might arise insofar as Covid-19 is concerned,” Garma said.
In the guidelines, he said it is not required for the learners to be vaccinated but they are encouraged to be vaccinated. Teachers and school personnel, however, are required to be vaccinated prior to participating in the limited in-person classes. 
He said DepEd downloaded almost a billion budget to the various regions to help schools comply with the SSAT requirements.
Also, he said DepEd would start issuing the safety seals for schools that have undergone and passed the safety assessment tool. He said the safety seal is often a requirement of local government units.
He said they have submitted the draft of the updated guidelines and is awaiting the signature of DepEd and Department of Health secretaries. 
DepEd records show there are 10,196 schools participating in the limited face-to-face classes broken down to 9,994 public schools and 212 private schools nationwide.
In the Cordillera, there are 1,044 schools –1,022 public and 22 private participating in the in-person classes. These include 812 schools in the elementary, 202 in the secondary, and 30 integrated schools. – Ofelia C. Empian