Thousands of children in the Philippines returned to school for the first time in over two years on Monday. A pilot programme was implemented, to restore face-to-face learning after the epidemic disrupted the education of 27 million schoolchildren.
For a two-month experimental programme, a hundred public schools in lower-risk areas are holding courses in person, with the reopening of more schools later, based on vaccination rates and a sustained drop in COVID-19 cases.
In contrast to many western countries, the Philippines, which has imposed some of the world’s longest curfews, is among the last to reopen schools.
‘We are pleased to see our students inside our classrooms because we recognise the importance of face-to-face learning in their social development,’ the ministry of education said in a statement.
Class sizes have been cut in half, and only vaccinated teachers and school workers are permitted to interact with pupils.
Photos uploaded on social media showed children wearing masks and plastic sheets between chairs and tables inside the classroom, as well as hand-washing stations.