MANILA - The Department of Education on Wednesday said it will implement a staggered 4th quarter exam schedule per grade level as part of social distancing measures amid the novel coronavirus spread.
DepEd spokesperson, Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said class suspensions have affected the examination schedules for graduating Grade 6 and Grade 12 students.
"Naka-schedule na dapat tomorrow and Friday 'yung 4th quarter exams ng magga-graduate ng Grade 6 at Grade 12. Sa isang linggo, 4th quarter examinations na ng lahat ng iba pang mga antas," Sevilla told radio DZMM.
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the suspension of classes from March 10 to 14 to protect students from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Other local governments have also suspended classes for the rest of the week.
Sevilla said schoolchildren should use the class suspension to review for the exams next week. Schools that are not covered by the class suspension will continue with scheduled examinations for graduating students.
However, students from other grade levels taking their exams next week need not go to school on a regular basis.
"Sa iba pa pong mga antas, bibigyan na lang kayo ng schedule kung kailan kayo pupunta sa eskuwelahan at ito po ang ating sinasabing social distancing measure. Hindi po sabay sabay na pupunta ang mag-aaral at pupunta lang sila para mag-exam," the DepEd official said.
After the exams week, any other academic requirement shall be done at home, she said.
The staggered schedule would reduce the number of students going to school daily.
"Hindi po buong araw nating ina-aadvise na ang bata mag-stay sa paaralan," she said.
The exam dates will be determined by school principals or heads as they are the ones who know the situation on the ground, in cooperation with the local government and the Department of Health, she said.
Meanwhile, graduation rites and moving-up ceremonies have been moved to April 13 to 17.
"Pag-conduct ng graduation will also be compliant with the DOH guidelines kung paano gagawin ang mass gathering. Within the level of the school pag-uusapan po kung gaano kasimple at kabilis at wala na tayong gagawing hand shake," she said.
She added that graduation rites can also be conducted in a clustered manner to minimize the people attending it.
"Kung ang sitwasyon ng public health sa mga susunod na araw ay hindi magko-cooperate, if it will become Code Red Sub-Level 2, automatic po lahat po ito ay hindi natin gagawin. Dahil 'yan na po ang signal na talagang hindi dapat bubuksan pa ang paaralan," she said.