MANILA — Returning to the pre-pandemic school calendar, with the school year starting in June and the school break slated for April to May, will have to go through a "slow transition," the Department of Education (DepEd) said Friday.
DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said among the factors to consider is the minimum number of school days.
"For this school calendar, 203 days po ng schooling iyong sinusunod natin. So hindi natin mamee-meet iyan 'pag bigla tayong magsu-summer break," he told ABS-CBN News.
"We take note of iyong mga suggestions na ibalik sa April-May (ang school break) dahil sa init. But kailangan pa po nating pag-aralan iyan... Kung meron mang changes, we will announce. Pero the changes will definitely not be abrupt. It will have to be a slow transition," he added.
Poa explained they have to identify which areas will be affected, and the pros and cons of reverting to the pre-pandemic school calendar.
"This year, mahirap na po mangyari iyan, sa totoo lang, dahil nga talagang we're looking at the 203 (school days). Now, in the years to come, we will have to really look into it and study first what will be affected. But again, hindi natin sinasabi na definitely we will not revert," he said.
Earlier, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian suggested bringing back the April–May vacation in schools amid intense heat felt in schools due to the warm and dry season.
The school break in public schools was moved to different months over the last 3 years, as school opening dates were adjusted amid the pandemic: SY 2020-2021 began in October, SY 2021-2022 in September, and the current SY 2022-2023 in August.
Meanwhile, full in-person end-of-school-year rites are back this year.
This will be a first since the pandemic. In previous years, only virtual, hybrid, or limited in-person graduation and moving-up ceremonies were allowed.
Under DepEd Department Order No. 9 series of 2023, "observance of physical distancing shall no longer be mandatory" and "the wearing of face mask during the ceremonies is not required and shall be left to the discretion of the learners and their parents."
"Graduation and Moving Up Ceremonies should be simple yet meaningful. While these rites mark a milestone in the lives of the learners, these should be conducted without excessive spending, extravagant attire, or extraordinary venue," the order read.