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DepEd: School year may open in August, IATF to decide on students' physical attendance

The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday said the academic year of 2020 may start in August instead of June due to the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a public briefing, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said the decision was based on the consultation of the department to different advisers, officials, sectors, teachers and other stakeholders.

“Tinatanong namin anong sa palagay nila ang tamang panahon na magbukas ng  eskuwelahan. Right now ang lumabasa sa ating consultations ay karamihan… para sa August,” she said.

The Deped also hold an online survey to get the opinion of the public about their preferred schedule for the resumption of class. Briones said most also suggested August among 700,000 respondents.

She said they are taking into consideration the time needed to prepare curriculum changes, means of teaching and learning, as well as the safety of the education facilities.

However, Briones said the department encourages students to continue their learning in June as she offers them to subscribe to DepEd Commons, an online educational platform supporting alternative learning modalities amid the enhanced community quarantine.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan explained that the August opening of the school year does not mean that the students will have to go back to school physically.

He said that the decision on students’ physical attendance in classes will depend on the discretion of the Inter-Agency Task Force.

“When we say we are opening the school year by  probabaly by August, it does not necessarily mean ang mga bata ay pupunta sa paaralan. Depende ‘yan sa kung ano ang mapagdesisyunan ng IATF,” he said.

“Ang IATF pinag-aralan ng husto ang kalagayan sa buong bansa kaya kung ano ang rekomendasyon ng IATF at desisyon ng presidente, may influence ito kung kailan magbubukas ang klase,” Briones said. --KBK, GMA News