Roque says private schools can open earlier than August, provided there is no “face-to-face” interaction

(Eagle News) – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that private schools can still open in June if they would want to, provided there would be no face-to-face interaction among students and teachers.

“Pagbukas ng klase sa private school ay pupuwedeng mas maaga sa Hunyo pero wala pa pong face-to-face hanggang Agosto 24, 2020,” the Palace spokesperson said in a Laging Handa press briefing on Saturday, May 9.

But Roque stressed that the school opening as approved in a resolution by the Department of Education is still on August 24, and that the school year 2020-2021 is set to end on April 30, 2021.

“Unang-una po, ang Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan ng Department of Education. Sang-ayon po dito sa inaprubahang resolusyon, ang pagbubukas po ng klase para sa basic education ay simula na po ng 24 ng Agosto 2020 at magtatapos ng Abril 30, 2021,” he said

Roque said that this was already approved and adopted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

He explained that for basic education in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, there would be other delivery options for teaching students, aside from face-to-face communication. This would include distance learning and home schooling.

All extracurricular activities such as school sports activities, job fairs, campus journalism, and the like, are cancelled since this would involve large gatherings.

“Magkakaroon rin po tayo ng pagkansela ng mga extra-curricular activities kung saan mayroong malaking mga pagtitipon gaya ng school sports, campus journalism, job fairs at iba pa,” Roque said.

The Palace spokesperson also announced that his office – the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson – as well as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will now be part of the IATF.

He also announced that the National Task Force COVID-19 Task Group on Strategic Communications will be headed by the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson.

Earlier, the DepEd announced that it is addressing challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic by setting up what it called the “Learning Continuity Plan.”

“On school opening, we would like to emphasize that it will not necessarily mean that teachers and learners will undergo the traditional in-classroom set-up by August this year,” DepEd said in a statement.

“In the LCP, the choice and contextualization of the learning delivery modality of schools will depend on the local COVID-19 situation as well as access to certain learning platforms,” it said.

DepEd said that even as they set policies in the central office, “we will primarily consider local public health conditions in adjusting our LCP.”

(Eagle News Service)