DepEd to schools: Adopt 'social distancing measures'

THE Department of Education (DepEd) has ordered schools in the country to implement social distancing measures to help combat the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

In a statement released Tuesday, March 10, DepEd said its Executive Committee discussed the implementation of the school suspension in the National Capitol Region (NCR) and its broader options, and tasked schools to implement social distancing measures for the remaining days of school year 2019-2020.

"School Year 2019-2020 is already about to end. The fourth quarter examinations for the graduating levels of Grades 6 and 12 are scheduled per the school calendar on March 12-13, 2020. This is already this coming Thursday and Friday. On the other hand, the fourth quarter examinations for all other grade levels are scheduled on March 19-20, 2020, which is already Thursday and Friday next week. Our feedback from the field is that the essential competencies specified in the curriculum are expected to have been covered," DepEd said.

It then ordered schools in the NCR to schedule all remaining fourth 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," DepEd said.

For schools outside NCR, exams that are scheduled on March 11 to 13 will push through. The days can also be used to catch up with all remaining class requirements.

Schools outside NCR are also tasked to schedule fourth quarter examinations on the week of March 16 to 20 on similar staggered basis.

After the scheduled exams, any further school requirements will be done as home-based assignments. If students are needed to go to school, the institution must observe all applicable Covid-19 precautions.

For moving up and graduation rites, schools will have the liberty to choose a date for ceremonies that should fall within April 13 to 17, said DepEd.

The education department has reminded schools of implementing 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," it said.

Private schools in the basic education level are highly encouraged to adopt the same guidelines for the remaining period of the school year.

The DepEd also advised parents and local government bodies to ensure that students avoid places like malls, movie houses, markets and other crowded places.

"DepEd will continue to closely monitor the situation and shall continue to take informed, coordinated and proportionate decisions, in close consultation with DOH and other members of the IATF, to contribute to meeting the challenge of containing and managing Covid-19," the agency said.

As of Wednesday, March 11, the Department of Health reported nine new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country, bringing the total to 33.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night, March 9, declared the suspension of classes in all levels in NCR starting from March 10 to March 14. (PR/JGS)