MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education on Monday, May 11, said that the government task force on coronavirus outbreak has approved its resolution to officially start school year 2020-2021 on August 24.
In a statement, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones assured the public that the agency would follow health safety protocols in the conduct of classes.
“I acknowledge the fears and apprehensions of our learners, parents, and teachers that attending schools in August might still not be safe in light of COVID-19. I would like to assure everyone that we will observe all the guidelines of the DOH (Department of Health) and the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force),” Briones said.
The DepEd earlier said class opening in August doesn’t necessarily mean that students would have to report to school.
Meanwhile, Briones also said the government task force also approved the draft of the Basic Elementary-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP), which would ensure the continued schooling of students as the country deals with the pandemic.
Here are the highlights of the approved BE-LCP as shared by DepEd on their social media accounts:
- Opening of classes for the basic education shall be on 24 August 2020 and ending on 30 April 2021.
- Opening of private schools will be allowed within the period provided by law. Provided that school learning continuity plan shall be submitted; no face-to-face classes will be allowed earlier than August 24, 2020; and from August 24, face-to-face learning shall only be allowed when the local risk severity grading permits, and subject to compliance with minimum health standards.
- Adoption of various learning delivery options – such as, but not limited to, face-to-face, blended learnings, distance learnings, homeschooling, and other modes of delivery – shall be implemented, depending on the local COVID Risk Severity Classification and compliance with minimum health standards.
- Conduct of curricular and co-curricular activities involving gatherings – such as science fairs, showcase of portfolios, trade fairs, school sports, campus journalism, festival of talents, job fairs, and other similar activities – is cancelled, except those conducted online.
Briones said distance learning is a major component of learning delivery for the incoming school year. Distance learning means lessons will be delivered outside the face-to-face traditional setup.
According to Briones, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar had offered the use of government television and radios in delivering lessons during the pandemic. (READ: PCOO offers gov’t TV, radio stations to deliver lessons – Briones)
“We will work on the details of this partnership between DepEd and PCOO in the coming days. Organizations from the private sector and civil society are also offering facilities,” Briones said.
The DepEd has yet to release guidelines on how the distance learning will work.
Meanwhile, private schools that want to open classes in June may do so if allowed by the government task force. Schools should also follow the DOH’s safety protocols, Briones said.
“No face-to-face classes will be allowed earlier than August 24, 2020, and, from then on, face-to-face classes may be conducted only in areas allowed to open physically,” Briones said.
As of Monday, the Philippines recorded 11,086 cases of coronavirus infections, with 726 deaths and 1,999 recoveries. – Rappler.com