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Re-opening of schools in Philippines moved to Oct 5

14 August 2020

By The SUN
All Philippine schools will now open on Oct 5 instead of Aug. 24 (Asia Foundation photo)
Schools across the Philippines will now open on Oct 5, as the country’s two leading regions are not yet ready because they are under modified emergency community quarantine until Aug 18, the Department of Education said.

Speaking in a virtual press briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved her recommendation to defer the opening of School Year 2020-2021 to give the National Capital Region and Region 4A enough time to prepare.

“As per the memorandum of the President, he has given approval to the recommendation of DepEd which, I repeat, we submitted last Aug 8. Thus, we will now implement such a decision to defer school opening to Oct 5,” Briones said.

Malacañang Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum today to Briones informing her that Duterte had approved the deferment, about a month and a half later than the initial schedule.

Classes were initially slated to open Aug 24, but several lawmakers and groups urged the DepEd to delay the start to so there will be more time to prepare for the transition to blended learning.

This refers to studying from home with the use of learning modules provided by schools for their students to download online. It was devised by educators to complement actual classes that were seriously disrupted by the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Briones said the National Capital Region and Region 4A, or Calabarzon, where 65% of the country’s economic activity is based, are having problems with their preparations due to the MECQ that will last until Aug 18.

The NCR or Metro Manila, Calabarzon comprising Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Cavite and Quezon provinces, as well as Bulacan in Region 3, have sought to delay the opening of classes.

 “We shall use the deferment to provide relief to the logistical limitations faced by the areas placed under MECQ and to fill in the remaining gaps of the school opening that we are currently addressing,” Briones said.
The President signed a law recently that allows for adjusting the start of the school year beyond August in the event of an emergency or calamity.

Under Republic Act 11480, the President, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Education, has the power to set at any date the opening of classes nationwide or in selected affected areas as the situation requires.

RA 11480 amended RA 7797, which set the opening of classes as early as the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

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 “We trust that this is the final adjustment of the school opening. Even with the implementation of MECQ, we will use this time to make the necessary adjustments and ensure that all preparations have been made for the successful opening of classes for School Year 2020-2021,” Briones said.

She said the postponement of school opening applies to both public and private schools. She admitted that private schools, many of which have already started classes, may continue their calendar provided they follow existing community quarantine guidelines.

Briones said that although private schools have their own operational plans, they fall under the umbrella of the DepEd and have to comply with its policies as well as the requirements of the MECQ or of the Department of Health.

She said areas outside MECQ were directed to continue orientations, dry runs, and delivery of learning resources for the Oct 5 opening.

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