The Department of Education (DepEd) postponed Tuesday its regional and national activities for February 2020 in line with the guidelines to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The DepEd, in a memorandum, said it also "highly discouraged" activities at the division or district level which would involve the gathering of participants from various schools. It left organizers to consult with local health authorities whether to push through with the activities.
Among activities postponed until an unspecified date are the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) in Tuguegarao, Cagayan & the National Festival of Talents (NFOT) in Ilagan, Isabela.
The student journalism and talent competitions were originally scheduled Feb 17-21, 2020.
Events such as the National Science and Technology Fair (NSTF) to be held in Metro Manila, as well as regional athletic meets like the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association supposed to be held in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental are also postponed.
However, the education department clarified the postponement does not yet cover the annual Palarong Pambansa athletic meet slated for May.
Earlier Tuesday, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that schools are "discouraged" from suspending classes over fears that students may contract the novel coronavirus in learning facilities, as advised by the Department of Health.
The communicable virus, which originated from Wuhan, China, has killed nearly 400 people and infected about 20,000 others worldwide.
As of Tuesday afternoon, health officials in the Philippines are monitoring at least 105 suspected carriers of the disease. The Philippines has banned travel to and from China earlier this week, after it registered the first novel coronavirus-related death outside China.