DepEd prepares 'continuity learning plan' in case COVID-19 prolongs class suspension: Gatchalian

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 14 2020 06:29 PM | Updated as of Apr 14 2020 09:00 PM

MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) has prepared a "continuity learning plan" for students in case the opening of classes in June is pushed back due to the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Tuesday.

The DepEd unveiled the back-up plan in a teleconference on Monday, said Gatchalian, who heads the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

"Wala pang detalye pero they just unveiled the concept kung paano gagawin... Ibig-sabihin mayroon silang plano kung paano mag-deliver ng education sa ating mga kabataan," Gatchalian told reporters when asked about his online meeting.

(There are no details yet but they just unveiled the concept on what to do... It means they have a plan on how to deliver education to our students.)

"I-unveil nila 'yan in the next 30 days kung ano 'yung mga detalye... Within this month, titingnan natin 'yung situation para maka-decide tayo kung may pasok sa June or de-delay ito ng a few months," he said.

(They will unveil the details in the next 30 days... Within this month, we will monitor the situation so we can decide if we will open classes by June or delay it by few months.)

Under the law, the opening of classes can only be delayed until August, Gatchalian said.

Congress may amend the law in case the global pandemic continues to spread due to the absence of a cure, the senator said.

"Kung 18 months pa ang vaccine, di naman tayo puwede maghintay nang 18 months bago tayo magkaroon ng pasok so magkakaroon tayo ng mas kumpletong detalye within the month," he said.

(If it takes 18 months before we could get a vaccine, we can't wait for 18 months before we have classes so we will get complete details within the month.)

The DepEd has also started deliberating on the opening of classes and possible policies on social distancing in educational institutions, he said.

Classes in all levels in Luzon have been suspended since mid-March after the national government placed the Philippines' most populous island under a nearly 2-month long lockdown to curb the spread of the global pandemic.

The lockdown was recently extended to April 30 from the original end date of April 12. 

Graduation rites have also been postponed as the government barred large gatherings to avoid the transmission of the disease.