MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday proposed to move the opening of the school year to September to ensure the safety of students as the country continues to deal with the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This, just as the Department of Education (DepEd) said it was moving the start of the new school year to August.
Sotto filed Senate Bill No. 1438, which seeks to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 7977, the law mandating the opening of the school year to take place between the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.
"It's a safer date. The important thing in that bill is it gives power for the President to adjust [the opening of classes] in case of a national emergency," Sotto told reporters in an online press conference.
The measure seeks to prepare the education sector in case a coronavirus "second wave", he said.
A further delay in the opening of classes would also "give the Department of Education more time and opportunity to prepare and adopt measures for the new normal of the education system," Sotto said in a separate statement.
An amendment to RA 7977 would also allow government to implement the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to start the school year in late September.
The DepEd announced Tuesday that it was moving the opening of the school year to August 24.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said not all students will physically report to schools once classes start due to lockdowns implemented in certain areas.
The DepEd will implement a blend of online and offline learning modes as an alternative to the traditional classroom setting.
-- With a report from Jaehwa Bernardo and Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News