TWENTY-FOUR private basic education schools in Central Visayas have submitted their intent not to operate for the school year 2020-2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
There are 22 of them in Cebu (Cebu City, Naga City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, Danao City, Toledo City, and Carcar City), one in Bohol and one in Negros Oriental.
Because of the rising number of Covid cases in the country, classes in public schools for school year 2020-2021 have been moved to October from August. Many private schools, however, have already begun classes, held online.
Department of Education (DepEd) 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said 95 to 97 percent of these schools are kindergarten and pre-elementary schools. He said the closure is temporary and only for this school year.
He said DepEd cannot stop private basic education institutions from not operating, especially if the main reason for their closure is due to the low enrollment.
Another reason, he said, is the school cannot comply with the requirement set by DepEd, the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which is to secure a special permit to operate.
Jimenez said the school must assist and guide parents and students in processing the transfer of the students to other schools, especially in making the students’ records available.
He also assured that public schools can accommodate students displaced by non-enrollment in private schools. He said a public school cannot deny a student from enrolling, especially if the student is a resident of the area or barangay where the school is located.
On one hand, private schools need to acquire a special permit from DepEd to continue operating amid the Covid pandemic.
Jimenez said the schools need to submit the following requirements: their learning continuity plan, which also indicates their chosen learning modality; school calendar; and the undertaking that they are compliant with the set health protocol.
He said 500 of the 1,005 private schools in Central Visayas have been issued with special permits.
He said DepEd is still processing applications for the special permit.
Jimenez said 165 private schools started operating before Aug. 24. (WBS)