By Maricel C. Del Rosario, Teacher-III, Gabaldon Central School


The Department of Education allowed the conduct of limited face-to-face classes to
pilot schools in the country late last year, and then additional schools followed to implement
early this year, hence termed as progressive expansion of limited face-to-face classes when
more schools, more areas have been categorized under lower alert levels and have complied to
the standards set by the DepED and partner agencies like the Department of Health (DOH) and
Local Government Units (LGUs).
This new milestone in the adoption of the new normal landscape in education has
drawn the attention not only of parents and stakeholders but of every Filipino who awaits the
future of education during and beyond the pandemic. This move of the education sector is a
clear manifestation that parents, teachers, learners and authorities are confident that learning
can happen now in the schools, without sacrificing the health and safety of everyone. After all,
the schools that participate in the progressive expansion of classes are all passers and qualifiers
of the Safety of Schools Assessment Tool (SSAT) conducted before given the permission to
Another good news in consonance with the progressive expansion of classes is the
provision of additional budget to schools that are included in the expansion phase. This,
according to the DepED will be used in acquiring technology tools and gadgets that will
facilitate the blended learning of learners. Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, the executive of
DepED further clarifies that learning in-person or face-to-face will not mean getting away with
use of technology but rather, integrate its utilization to continue the prevention of Covid19
because the risk is still present and at the same time, the provision of television, computers,
laptops and other tech tools will enhance the digital skills of learners.
In the perspective of this author, the progressive expansion of face-to-face may be a
plus factor in extending remediation to learners for them to make up for the learning loss that
transpired during the disruption of classes. Many of the learners were found unable to master
the learning they were supposed to achieve while on modular learning. Although the children
were facilitated by the parents or their guardians at home, and most of them submitted well
accomplished modules and learning activity sheets, their first weeks in the limited-face-to -face
classes were not complacent with the performances in the modular.
There are possible reasons, of course, why learners are showing timidity and hesitance
in their face-to-face learning. One is having been away to the usual learning environment for

two years, and staying again, with non-family members in school gives them a feeling of being

with strangers. Another factor might be the learning pace that they already adopted at home-
they can study while eating, wearing their comfortable everyday clothes and answering at their

most convenient times. Limited face-to-face classes, for most learners, mean being behaved,
having the floor in discussions and seeing their classmates staring at them as they say something
about the lesson. The absence of this scenario at home for two years may mean two different
things: either the learners did not develop socialization at home or they really do not know what
is being talked about in the class. It will be offensive on the part of the parent facilitators if
teachers will say learners did not learn at home; or yet, some parents may admit, the learners
were not properly taught at home.
Whatever is or are the reasons, this is not the time to blame and point whose fault is
this. The best thing to do right now is to maximize the limited hours of learners in school, drive
them back to reality: school days are real! Both the teacher and the learners must catch up, in
ways they can pursue the lessons without getting too fast, nor too slow.