The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said Wednesday universities and colleges implementing flexible learning mode may start the next academic year in August.
Some higher education institutions with flexible learning may even start their school calendar in earlier months, said CHED Commissioner Prospero De Vera.
"Ito ay diniscuss namin sa IATF. Ako'y bukas na i-discuss ulit ito sa tamang panahon pero sa ngayon, ito ang policy ng CHED," he said in an interview with DZMM.
(We've discussed this with the IATF. I am open to discussing this again when the time comes. But for now, this is the policy fo CHED.)
De Vera was referring to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, an adhoc government body tasked to address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.
Schools that are unable to implement flexible learning and would require classes in classrooms should open the school year in a later date, said De Vera.
"Depende sa situation sa ground level, kasama na rito ang compliance sa health requirements at konsultasyon sa local government unit," he said.
(It depends on the situation at the ground level, including compliance with health requirements and consultation with the local government unit.)
De Vera added that the CHED is also helping universities and colleges in strengthening their capabilities to implement flexible learning by August.
Flexible learning, De Vera clarified, is not equivalent to online learning but also employs other methods to deliver lessons to students without internet connectivity.
"'Yong ibang pamantasan ang ginawa nila, nagbigay sila ng learning packet, mga take-home activity, reading, examination, paper," he explained.
(Other universities give packet, or take-home activities, readings, examinations and papers.)
"Isusumite nila (students) sa mga propesor nila either electronically tulad ng e-mail or isusumite nila kapag na-lift na 'yong lockdown."
(Students will submit these requirements to their professors either electronically like through e-mails or submit it personally once the lockdown is lifted.)
Flexible learning also allows universities and colleges to adjust the deadline of requirements for students, said De Vera.
Last week, the government extended the enhanced community quarantine in some parts of the country until May 15 to continue curbing the spread of COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2.
The rest of the country will be under general community quarantine, or the "new normal," starting May 1.