DepEd urged to suspend graduation rites amid COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to postpone the scheduled graduation rites this March as a precaution against the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian proposed the suspension of graduation ceremonies, including daycare, high school and moving-up rites, nationwide following the government’s declaration of a state of public health emergency over the coronavirus disease.

He said postponing these events may help prevent the further spread of the virus.

“Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), who usually are parents or relatives of the graduates, tend to show up in graduation rites and this might compromise the safety of students, teachers, and all school personnel present in the occasion,” he said.

DepEd earlier stated that graduation rites for this year should be held not earlier than March 30, but not later than April 3.

Gatchalian also suggested the cancellation of other activities such as field trips, film showing, and other events imposed by some schools as a requirement for graduation or completion.

As of this writing, the Philippines has 33 confirmed coronavirus infections.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public health emergency following the hoisting of Code Red Sublevel 1 by the Department of Health after it confirmed the country’s first case of local transmission.

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