DepEd 7: Christmas parties in schools must be voluntary

THE Department of Education in Central Visayas (DepEd 7) said Christmas parties within schools, both public and private, must be voluntary.

DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez told SunStar Cebu on Monday, December 5, 2022, that they will be giving schools full discretion if they want to organize Christmas parties.

Jimenez reminded those schools that opted to have Christmas parties to observe the proper guidelines, particularly the health protocols, such as proper distancing, hand washing, and sanitizing, among others.

Earlier, DepEd Central Office in Manila reiterated that no involuntary solicitation should be conducted for organizing school Christmas parties, as it released a new order setting guidelines for the sector's observance of the coming holiday season.

DepEd Order 52, or an order providing for the guidelines in the celebration of Christmas within DepEd, was released on Friday, December 2, 2022.

Under the order, all Christmas parties, themes, costumes, decorations, and exchange gifts are considered voluntary.

DepEd said no learner should be excluded from joining a school's Christmas celebration even if he or she fails to give his voluntary contribution or has not prepared a gift.

The agency also said that Christmas parties, particularly in public schools, should not disrupt the lesson plans for students.

It said provisions for departmental services should not be used for any holiday activities.

The school Division Offices may also provide more guidelines according to local traditions.

For private schools and other learning centers, the agency said they might also adopt their own regulations with DepEd's department order as a guide.

The agency reminded that celebrations, particularly in public schools and DepEd offices, must be as simple as possible.

"Celebrations in public schools and DepEd central and field offices should be simple yet meaningful, keeping in mind the true spirit of the season and the austerity called for by the difficult economic times," the order stated. (HIC)