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Senate OKs on 3rd reading bill allowing start of classes beyond August

Voting 23-0, the Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to authorize President Rodrigo Duterte to reschedule the opening of classes at any date beyond August as the fight against COVID-19 continues.

Senate Bill No. 1541 amends Republic Act 7797  otherwise known as "An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from 200 days to not more than 220 class days" 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.

Once enacted into law, the proposed measure would empower the President, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Education, to set at any date the opening of classes in the entire Philippines or in selected affected areas during states of calamity or emergency.

The bill covers all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools in the Philippines.

A similar measure has been approved by two committees in the House of Representatives on Saturday.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has 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.

After initially saying that he will not allow the opening of classes until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes locally available, Duterte vowed to "scrape the bottom of the barrel" to fund the alternative forms of learning being proposed by the DepEd.—AOL, GMA News