Schools may forego graduation rites if risk of coronavirus escalates — DepEd

Marje Pelayo   •   March 11, 2020   •   1150

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) has adopted social distancing measures for the rest of the School Year 2019-2020 amid the public health risk posed by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The suspension of classes in NCR, as advised by the expert panel of the Department of Health (DOH) and decided by the President upon recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), constitutes a social distancing measure intended to mitigate or slow down community transmission,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement following new confirmations of COVID-19 cases and the announcements of local transmission in the country.

Given the current situation, the DepEd Executive Committee adopted the following directives to the field for all DepEd schools:

• In NCR, considering the class suspension directed by the President for March 10 to 14, all teachers with the supervision of the Regional, Schools Division and School officials, shall schedule all remaining 4th Quarter Examinations in the week of March 16 to 20 on a staggered basis to reduce the number of students in the school per day. Teachers shall communicate with their students on pointers for review for examination and may opt to work from home. Students shall come to school next week (March 16 to 20) on the day of their respective examination schedules.

• Outside NCR, all teachers shall use the next three days (March 11 to 13) for any 4th Quarter Examinations already scheduled, or to catch up with all remaining class requirements, and to schedule all remaining 4th Quarter Examinations for the week of March 16 to 20 on similar staggered basis. Students shall come to school next week (March 16 to 20) on the day of their respective examination schedules.

• After the 4th Quarter Examinations have been taken, any further school requirements shall as far as practicable be done as home-based assignments. Any compelling need to come to school shall observe all applicable COVID-19 precautions.

As the end of the current school year draws near, Briones said the decision to push through with moving up and graduation rites shall be to the discretion of school administrators.

They may elect a date of the ceremony within the week of April 13 to 17 taking into consideration the applicable guidelines by the DOH and the Health Department’s guidelines on mass gatherings.

“Should the public health situation prevent the holding of the graduation and moving up rites within the said week, the schools, in consultation with the PTA leadership, may choose to reschedule or forego the holding of graduation and moving up rites,” the Education Secretary said.

Briones emphasized that the social distancing measure will only be effective if stakeholders – students, parents and local governments – will share their individual part in ensuring that students avoid places like malls, movie houses, markets, and similar crowded places.

Duterte supports DepEd’s ‘blended’ and ‘distance learning’ solutions

Marje Pelayo   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed with the plan of the Department of Education (DepEd) on how the classes will be held come August amid the prevailing risks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Secretay Leonor Briones, during a meeting with the President on Thursday (May 28) presented the DepEd’s proposed solutions namely the ’blended’ and ‘distance learning’ systems wherein classes will be held on digital modes such as the use of Internet, television programs and radio broadcast.

Also, the Department intends to use printed materials in areas without Internet access and where students do not have personal gadgets specifically in remote barangays and localities. 

In response, the President vowed to find additional sources of funds to support this plan. 

“I’m impressed with the simplicity of the program. And I believe that all that you have said is really feasible, radio if television is not available and all of these things. I believe you have a very workable program. I support you,” the President told Briones.

Despite his disagreement with face-to-face classes until a vaccine is discovered, the President made it clear that he agrees with alternative learning for students. 

Thus, remote enrollment will push through from June 1 to 30 and classes will open in August as planned.

Given the current situation, the President appeals to school administrations to be considerate and apply a staggered payment scheme for the students’ tuition. 

He added that parents who are struggling to pay the tuition of their children may opt to apply for loan from Landbank of the Philippines. 

“And for those who have really nothing to come up for the tuition payment, we have the Landbank and kindly listen to rules. We will open the Landbank and you can borrow money to finance the education of your children,” the President said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

No opening of classes sans COVID-19 vaccine — Duterte

Marje Pelayo   •   May 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he is not allowing the opening of classes unless an effective vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is discovered.

“I will not allow the opening of classes na dikit-dikit ang mga bata. Bahala na (kung) hindi na makatapos for this generation. Wala nang aral, laro na lang,” the President said adding that he’s most concerned about the safety of the students.

“Unless I am sure that they are really safe, it’s useless to talk about opening of classes. Para sa akin bakuna muna. Kapag nandiyan ang bakuna, okay lang,” he stressed.

Nonetheless, the President is optimistic that a vaccine against COVID-19 will be discovered before the year 2020 ends. 

This is the President’s position following the Department of Education’s (DepEd) announcement on the opening of classes on August 24.

READ: DepEd: Parents may enroll online starting June 1

The Department, also, announced the start of the enrollment process on June 1, though it encouraged parents to register their children online or through e-mail or phone calls to maintain social distancing measures in view of the risks of COVID-19 infection. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

LOOK: Deped’s proposed class seat arrangement for possible face-to-face learning

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 25, 2020

The Department of Education (Deped) has proposed classroom seating arrangements in case face-to-face learning will be implemented for the upcoming school year.

In a post, Deped reiterated there will be no face-to-face learning unless it is safe for students to go out. However, as part of their preparations for the opening of classes, they proposed a seating arrangement that will still adhere to social distancing.

Deped showed layouts for classrooms with armchairs and classrooms with tables and chairs. Both have a 1-meter distance to observe proper social distancing. AAC

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