MANILA - Face-to-face graduation rites for school year 2021-2022 are still possible, the Department of Education (DepEd) said, as COVID-19 cases continue to decrease.
At a virtual press conference, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said she is optimistic that schools may be able to conduct their graduation rites depending on the OVID-19 risk assessment in various regions of the country.
“Yung risk assessment natin sa mga different regions, sa mga different schools ay nag-improve. Pag nag tuloy-tuloy ito, the chances of being allowed to conduct face-to-face graduation also increases," she said.
"Sunod-sunod yan pag nag-opening ka ng classes, na- face-to-face (classes) ka, physical graduation rites are also possible,” she added.
“Ang hope lang natin, maabutan ng graduation season natin na hindi naman abutan ng hindi magandang balita kung may biglang pagbabago,” Briones added.
In a statement, the DepEd said the Office of the Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction is already drafting the guidelines for the conduct of face-to-face graduation ceremonies.
Furthermore, in anticipation of the physical graduation rites, the Office of the Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction (OUCI) is already planning and developing the guidelines on how to conduct the said activity.
“Kami sa Curriculum and Instruction Strand ay nag-uusap na ng magiging guidelines," Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said.
"Yung tanong na kung possible ang face-to-face graduation? Siyempre po, kasi nga pinayagan na ang limited face-to-face, so ang ibig sabihin posible na rin yung limited face-to-face graduation ceremonies,” he added.
San Antonio said that graduation ceremonies in the new normal must also abide by the minimum public health standards against COVID-19.
“Huwag tayong umasa na katulad ng dati na napakaraming tao, ire-regulate po natin, susundin natin yung mga social distancing requirements,” he said.
“May posibilidad na hindi lang isahan, baka may unang oras, isang grupo kung maliit yung lugar na pagdarausan ng face-to-face graduation," San Antonio said.
"Mga ganon na modelo ay pinag-aaralan pa namin at pinag-uusapan, pero sisiguruhin natin na kung tayo ay magre-recommend nito ito ay sasang-ayon sa mga pinapatupad na requirements ng (Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19) at ng (Department of Health),” he added.
Only virtual graduations and end-of-school-year rites were allowed by the DepEd amid the threat of COVID-19 in the Philippines.
Philippine schools in Manila started limited face-to-face classes late last year after a near two-year suspension as the country tries to get life back to normal after imposing some of the world's toughest coronavirus curbs.
The government, however, reimposed coronavirus restrictions in early 2022 after the Omicron variant spurred record case numbers.
The lockdown in Metro Manila and nearby cities has been lowered to Alert Level 1 starting March 1 after COVID-19 cases decreased to below 2,000 a day and government started jabbing minors against COVID-19.