The next school year will officially open on August 24 and end on April 30, 2021, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said on May 5.
Briones said the start of the academic year 2020-2021 in August does not necessarily mean elementary and high school students will physically return to schools. Classes can be conducted online, until the government allows the reopening of school buildings, which were temporarily closed to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus disease.
“Ang napili nating school opening date ay August 24 pero hindi ibig sabihin na lahat ay physical na papasok kasi may lockdown tayo,” Briones said during the Laging Handa public briefing.
The DepEd chief said she was informed that some public and private schools are ready to implement alternatives to traditional classroom learning.
After consulting the public through an online survey, she said those from far-flung areas preferred having lessons through radio. Teachers can also hold classes through television and cellphones, she added.
Aside from the modes of teaching, Briones said the department also plans to change the contents of its education curriculum.
Teachers back to work in June
She also announced that elementary and high school teachers will have to report for work “whether physically or virtually” between June 1 and 30, as it is the enrollment period.
She added that by next month, teachers will undergo capacity building activities for new lessons.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases previously recommended moving the opening of classes to September to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
But the education secretary has said this is not allowed under the law.
“The law provides that school opening shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August,” she said.
Palarong Pambansa, other crowd drawing events suspended
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the department has decided to temporarily postpone its national events including the Palarong Pambansa, which draws large crowd.
“’Yung mga big events na crowd drawers natin ay pansamantalang kinakansela natin,” Briones noted.
Other suspended activities include talent contests, Brigada Eskwela, science fairs, national schools press conference and job fairs.