LEARNERS and teachers are allowed to take off their masks during the conduct of face-to-face (F2F) classes following the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 7 by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Department of Education (DepEd) Spokesperson Michael Poa said on Tuesday, November 1, 2022, that schools may follow EO No. 7, which allows the optional wearing of face masks indoors amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“Schools may immediately implement optional masking indoors pursuant to EO 7,” he said pending the issuance of a department order on the matter.

Under EO No. 7, which was signed by Marcos last week, the wearing of face masks in the country is only mandatory in healthcare facilities, medical transport vehicles and public transportation.

Elderlies, individuals with comorbidities, immunocompromised persons, pregnant women and unvaccinated people are still encouraged to wear face masks in public places as they are at high risk for Covid-19 infection.

The DepEd earlier issued a department order allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces or non-crowded outdoor areas with good ventilation as well as in playing sports and other physical activities in accordance to Marcos’ EO No. 3, which makes the wearing of face masks in outdoor settings across the country optional.

Public schools have returned to the conduct of full F2F classes starting November 2, over two years following the shift to distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This means that students will spend more time in schools.

Private schools, on the other hand, were allowed by the DepEd to continue holding either full F2F classes, a blended learning modality, or full-distance learning.

According to DepEd, over 28 million students have enrolled for the School Year 2022 to 2023. (SunStar Philippines)