Today, August 14, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved its recommendation to move the opening of School Year 2020-2021 from August 24 to October 5 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a virtual press briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that the submission was made a day after Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna and Rizal were reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
DepEd: There would still be no face-to-face learning
Despite the deferment of the school opening, Briones maintained that there would still be no face-to-face learning.
“As per the memorandum of the president, he has given approval to the recommendation of DepEd. Thus, we will now implement such a decision to defer the school opening to October 5 pursuant to Republic Act No. 11480,” Briones said.
Meanwhile, those areas outside MECQ were directed to continue orientations, dry runs, and delivery of learning resources for the October 5 opening.
“We trust that this is the final adjustment of the school opening. Even with the implementation of [modified enhanced community quarantine], we will use this time to make the necessary adjustments and ensure that all preparations have been made for the successful opening of classes,” Briones added.
Prior to this announcement, Vice President Leni Robredo, senators, a teachers’ group and other stakeholders raised several concerns about the preparedness of the public education system to implement new distance learning protocols.
With the change of academic calendar for this year, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, who is active in pushing the postponement of class resumptions in August, released their statement celebrating the decision.
“DepEd’s announcement of deferring school opening to October 5 is brought about by the clamor of stakeholders grounded on very valid and sound arguments which the agency can no longer deny,” ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio said.
“We have proven today that the people’s voices can and will triumph, and we shall continue to push the government to fulfill the requisites for a safe, accessible, and quality education.”