DepEd: Class suspension amid Covid-19 surge is up to LGU, local school officials

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The Department of Education (DepEd) 7 has left the discretion to suspend modular distance learning classes to the 19 schools division offices (SDO) and the local government units (LGUs).

DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said so, following the release of the department’s memorandum giving public and private schools the discretion to suspend classes and other teaching-related activities within January 2022 amid the increasing number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country.

Except for Siquijor, which is on Alert Level 2 status, all the LGUs in the region have been placed on Alert Level 3 status until January 31.

Citing the implementation of a situation-location-based approach, Jimenez said he could not just order the suspension of classes across Central Visayas.

“Personally, as the regional director, I cannot give the issuance across Central Visayas because different areas face different situations,” said Jimenez.

“So I told the superintendents that they can decide. They can suspend classes but they have to coordinate with the LGU because it’s the LGU that can order the suspension of classes. They can coordinate with the LGU and then declare suspension of classes,” he explained.

Jimenez assured that the regional office will approve the suspension of classes once the concerned SDO, in coordination with the LGUs, will submit their recommendation.

“They have to submit to the regional office their recommendation based on their observation of the situation in their area. The superintendents would know better because they know the situation on the ground. Then we will just approve their recommendation,” he added.

Before the memorandum was issued, the SDOs were already given the discretion to suspend classes after Typhoon Odette damaged P6 million worth of learning materials. Hundreds of classrooms were also either destroyed or damaged.

Despite the damage, classes in all eight public schools and the two private schools in Cebu that joined the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes were able to resume last January 4.

While there are some schools that already suspended the implementation of modular distance learning, Jimenez said other schools have pushed through with the help of schools divisions that were not affected by the typhoon.

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