MANILA, May 5, 2020, PhilStar. The Department of Education announced Tuesday that the new school year will open in August as the country continues to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, The Philippine Star reported.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said school year 2020-2021 will formally open on August 24, either through physical or virtual classes.
In a virtual press briefing, Briones stressed the need for the educational process to continue while ensuring the safety and health of learners and teachers.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone should attend class physically because we have lockdowns enforced in various areas. It can be virtual, it can also be physical in areas where schools are allowed to open,” Briones said in Filipino.
Classes in basic education usually open in June but Republic Act 7977 or the Act on Lengthening of School Calendar allows the school opening to be scheduled on the first week of June and the last day of August.
Public schools in the country are generally overcrowded, making preventive measures such as physical distancing difficult to achieve.
DepEd is looking into implementing alternative delivery modes such as online learning that do not require face-to-face interactions among students and teachers. But internet connection and gadgets such as laptops, computers and mobile phones remain unreachable luxuries for many learners.
“There are students without access to technology that’s why we’re preparing our printed instructional packets or self-learning kits,” DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said.
Education officials are also eyeing to deliver lessons through television and radio.
Lockdowns put in place to stem the spread of the virus that has already infected 9,485 people in the country shuttered schools across the archipelago.