MANILA (UPDATE) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) said Tuesday that it would move the opening of classes this year from June to August while the country continues to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The school year is scheduled to start on Aug. 24, and end on April 30, 2021, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a virtual press briefing.
The decision to delay the start of the school year was based on extensive consultation with stakeholders, according to Briones.
The new school calendar has also been reported to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease, an adhoc body that manages the government's efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, she added.
The start of the school year is usually set in June, but Republic Act No. 7977 allows it to take place "not later than the last day of August."
Briones clarified that not all teachers and students will physically report to schools once classes start due to lockdowns implemented in certain areas to curb the spread of COVID-19.
She said the department will implement various approaches in delivering lessons to students, such as technology-mediated learning through computers and cellphones, the use of media like television and radio, and other offline methods.
"Puwedeng virtual [learning], puwede ring physical sa mga lugar na ina-allow ang physical na pagbukas ng eskuwelahan," Briones said.
(Classes can be virtual, but it can also be physical in places which allow schools to physically open.)
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, in the same briefing, added that it is up to the department's field units to decide which delivery mode is appropriate for students and schools, depending on resources and situation in the locality.
During enrollment, students will answer a survey asking their preferred mode of learning and which gadgets they own for technology-mediated learning, he said.
Meanwhile, teachers will be reporting for work as early as June to prepare for the upcoming school year, said Briones.