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Senate OKs on 2nd reading bill allowing start of classes beyond August

The Senate on Wednesday approved on second reading an amendatory bill which seeks to give President Rodrigo Duterte the authority to reschedule opening of classes beyond August.

Senate Bill No. 1541 seeks to amend Republic Act 7797 which currently states that the school year in the country may open as early as the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

The proposed measure would empower the President, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Education, to change the schedule of the opening of classes in the entire Philippines or in selected affected areas during states of calamity or emergency.

This shall cover all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools.

Once enacted into law, this measure will allow Duterte to push back the start of the school year at any date, considering the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Early this week, President Rodrigo Duterte said he will not allow the opening of classes until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes locally available.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque later on clarified that this only means physical classes won't resume yet.

The Department of Education earlier announced that School Year 2020-2021 will start on August 24 using "blended forms" of learning to ensure the welfare of over 27 million basic education students and 1.2 million teaching ang non-teaching personnel at public and private schools in the country. — RSJ, GMA News