The Department of Education (DepEd) will present its recommendation on the opening of the next school year to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on the first week of May.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte approved IATF’s recommendations, which include moving the next schools opening in some areas to September.
Roque said in an interview with radio dzBB Friday morning that Duterte “adopted in full” the IATF’s recommendation that includes moving schools opening in areas under General Community Quarantine to September.
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National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) acting general Karl Chua also clarified that Roque only presented recommendations for consideration after they conducted a health study. But the Education department will still present to the task force on the matter.
IATF School Opening Recommendation
Roque, in a taped address aired earlier, said the IATF recommended “100% closure” for areas deemed as “moderate to low-risk,” or the localities placed under GCQ.
“Iyong option po sa low-risk to moderate areas na buksan by industry, consider for 100% closure maski po low to moderate risk consider for 100% closure pa rin dahil po ang mga transmitters ay kabataan mula edad 0 to 20. Lahat ng eskwelahan, i-consider po ang late opening sa Setyembre except po sa online learning,” he said.
(The option for low-risk to moderate areas to open by industry, consider for 100% closure, even low to moderate risk, consider for 100% closure still. Because the transmitters are the youth ages 0 to 20, all schools, consider late opening in September except in online learning.)
The higher education institutions in these localities “may continue to finish academic year and issue credential to students,” Roque said.
It is unclear whether schools in localities still under and recently placed in Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) are included in this recommendation.
Republic Act 7977 or the act on the lengthening of school calendar states that the opening of classes should be made between the first week of June and the last day of August.
Briones earlier said the department is conducting nationwide consultations, including business partners and education experts, on when the next school year will start. Trends point to an opening on August 4.
But Briones said the IATF assessment will affect DepEd’s moves as the country continues to apply stringent measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan previously said in a radio interview that the department is eyeing to utilize information communication technology platforms for learners. This can be done through television and radio.
The Education Secretary also said that they are looking into “alternative delivery modes” that do not require face to face interactions among students and teachers.
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