Cutting number of school days an option

THE Cebu Provincial Board (PB) wants the Department of Education (DepEd) 7 to consider shortening the academic year for public and private schools as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continues to spread.

In its regular session Monday, March 9, 2020, the PB passed a resolution urging the DepEd 7 to adopt measures and mull over the possibility of “shortening the length of the school year.” It added that the DepEd could consider other means of compliance like home assignments and performance tasks for all students in public and private schools to minimize their risk of exposure.

A separate resolution also invited the DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH) 7 to a meeting at 11 a.m. Monday, March 16, on precautionary measures for students, teachers and non-teaching personnel.

Both measures were filed by ex-officio PB Member Celestino Martinez III.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, for her part, said the school situation was already brought up during the inter-agency meeting on Covid-19 last Monday.

“Considering that the regional director of the DOH 7 pointed out that we still do not have any Covid-19 case of local transmission and, in fact, our patients under investigation have gone down to zero, and considering further that there are only 10 days to go before the exams..., we opted to have the DOH provide vitamin C for students,” she said.

Garcia said protocols on proper hygiene should be strictly practiced inside schools.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, chairman of the League of Cities of the Philippines, said there will be no suspension of classes in Cebu and Central Visayas. Labella came from a meeting called by President Rodrigo Duterte Monday with the leagues of cities and provinces and health officials.

Unlike in Metro Manila, Labella said Cebu and the entire Central Visayas do not have a case of local transmission.

Issued on Monday, DepEd Memorandum 034 series of 2020 provides the fifth set of policy directives of the education office’s task force on Covid-19. Item 6 states the requirements for suspension of classes for the guidance of school officials.

If a school has one confirmed positive case of the Covid-19, the school head can declare the suspension of classes, the provision said. If two or more schools in one city or municipality have a confirmed case, the schools division superintendent can declare the suspension of classes in affected schools and adjacent areas.

DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said all recommendations from Central Visayas local government units will be presented to the central office. (RTF, PAC)