President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to move the opening of classes for SY 2020-2021 to September, instead of the usual June schedule.
“Lahat ng eskuwelahan i-consider po ang late opening sa Setyembre, except po sa online learning,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a pre-recorded statement aired on Friday, April 24.
“Iyong option po sa low-risk to moderate areas na buksan by industry consider for 100 percent closure maski po low to moderate risk consider for 100 percent 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.”
Roque clarified that the late opening of classes would not apply to colleges and universities.
Photo credit: CNN Philippines
Higher education institutions were allowed to adjust their approved academic calendars as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the country, explained Commission on Higher Education Chairperson (CHED) Prospero de Vera III.
DepEd Still Eyes August for Opening Date
The Department of Education (DepEd) still hopes, however, that the opening of classes will be done in August, not September. If that happens, it might still be possible for the school year to be completed in March, just like the usual schedule. However, students would have to work double time on their lessons and classes might also be held on Saturdays to help them catch up with the missed school hours.
DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan also clarified that opening the school in August does not mean that the students will physically go to school. The DepEd is still trying to work out ways to deliver the lessons without the students going to the classroom; through options such as radios, televisions, and online lessons.
Photo credit: GMA News
The school year would also prove to have more challenges, particularly with the enforcement of social distancing.
Senate Committee on Basic Education chair Sherwin Gatchalian suggested that schools should only allow no more than 20 students per classroom, should physical classes resume. However, with many schools often needing to cram as many as 50 to 60 learners in one classroom due to lack of facilities, putting just 20 in one classroom would lead to more issues with classroom shortage.