FACE-TO-FACE. South Cotabato Schools Division Superintendent Ruth Estacio urges school heads in the province Friday (Sept. 2, 2022) to begin the five-day weekly face-to-face classes. She said school heads have been consulted on the matter. (Photo courtesy of South Cotabato PIO)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Department of Education (DepEd) in South Cotabato has urged school heads in the province to push through with the five-day weekly face-to-face (F2F) classes.

The move was in accordance with Vice President Sara Duterte’s first order as Education Secretary, South Cotabato Schools Division Superintendent Ruth Estacio said on Thursday.

Estacio said she has met with school heads and "encouraged" them to begin the F2F classes.

DepEd Order 34, s. 2022 states: “Starting November 2, 2022, all public and private schools shall have transitioned to five days of in-person classes. After the said date, no school shall be allowed to implement purely distance learning or blended learning except for those that are implementing alternative modes.”

The DepEd order allows alternative options to in-person classes only until October 31 this year, including five days of face-to-face classes, blended learning, or full distance learning.

Estacio said the lack of classrooms, teachers, chairs, and other supplies "will not be an obstacle to the return of face-to-face classes because this is what the DepEd Division Office is currently focusing on."

Early this year, South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. announced that PHP100 million worth of classrooms are set to be built in the province.

Estacio said 93 more senior high school teachers have been sent to schools that lacked tutors. (PNA)