(UPDATED) The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday, May 5, said that school year 2020-2021 will open on August 24, adding that classes may be conducted physically or virtually depending on the state of the coronavirus pandemic by then.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said in virtual press briefing aired on state-run PTV4 that she had reported this to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, and that she had informed them that the chosen date was based on consultations.
"Naireport ko na sa IATF last week at nasabi ko na ang naipili naming date. Dahil sa pagconsultation namin, ang preference nila ay August.... Ang napili naming class opening date ay August 24,"
(I already reported this to the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force) last week and I told them that, based on the consultations we did, their preference is August.... The class opening date that we chose is August 24.)
Briones also said that the end of classes for the coming schoolyear would be on April 30, 2021. She added national school events such as Palarong Pambansa and Schools Press Conference will be canceled this coming school year.
According to Briones, there's a high possibility that classes will be held online for areas under enhanced community quarantine. Teaching methods and curriculum will also be updated to match the "new normal" amid the coronavirus pandemic, she added.
The IATF will decide per area how classes would be conducted, depending on the status of the outbreak by then.
DepEd earlier said that it was eyeing information communication technology (ICT) platforms, television, and radio in delivering lessons during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Briones said teachers and other school personnel will be expected to report to work on June 1, either physically or virtually. This is also the start of class enrolment.
In a text message to reporters on Wednesday, May 6, Briones clarified that the August 24 class opening is for both public and private schools, but private schools that want to open classes in June may do so if allowed by the government task force.
The schools should also follow the Department of Health safety protocols.
“No face-to-face [classes] for June,” Briones said.
On April 24, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the IATF to move the opening of classes for school year 2020-2021 to September, but DepEd maintained that it was eyeing August for class opening.
Under Republic Act No. 7977, also known as “An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (200) days to not more that Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days,” the “school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.” – Rappler.com