Schools may forego graduation rites if risk of coronavirus escalates — DepEd

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) has adopted social distancing measures for the rest of the School Year 2019-2020 amid the public health risk posed by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The suspension of classes in NCR, as advised by the expert panel of the Department of Health (DOH) and decided by the President upon recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), constitutes a social distancing measure intended to mitigate or slow down community transmission,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement following new confirmations of COVID-19 cases and the announcements of local transmission in the country.

Given the current situation, the DepEd Executive Committee adopted the following directives to the field for all DepEd schools:

• In NCR, considering the class suspension directed by the President for March 10 to 14, all teachers with the supervision of the Regional, Schools Division and School officials, shall schedule all remaining 4th 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.

• Outside NCR, all teachers shall use the next three days (March 11 to 13) for any 4th Quarter Examinations already scheduled, or to catch up with all remaining class requirements, and to schedule all remaining 4th Quarter Examinations for the week of March 16 to 20 on similar staggered basis. Students shall come to school next week (March 16 to 20) on the day of their respective examination schedules.

• After the 4th Quarter Examinations have been taken, any further school requirements shall as far as practicable be done as home-based assignments. Any compelling need to come to school shall observe all applicable COVID-19 precautions.

As the end of the current school year draws near, Briones said the decision to push through with moving up and graduation rites shall be to the discretion of school administrators.

They may elect a date of the ceremony within the week of April 13 to 17 taking into consideration the applicable guidelines by the DOH and the Health Department’s 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,” the Education Secretary said.

Briones emphasized that the social distancing measure will only be effective if stakeholders – students, parents and local governments – will share their individual part in ensuring that students avoid places like malls, movie houses, markets, and similar crowded places.

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