MANILA (UPDATE) — Public and private schools will be allowed to start the upcoming school year earlier than the date prescribed by the Department of Education (DepEd) as long as they do not hold "face-to-face" learning, Secretary Leonor Briones said Monday.
Briones said schools may start classes earlier than Aug. 24, the date set by DepEd, as long as the opening date falls within the period allowed by law, which is anytime from the first Monday of June to the last day of August.
"Private schools and maybe even public schools will be allowed to open within the period provided by law," she said in a virtual press conference.
The education chief told private schools to submit their own learning continuity plan if they want to start classes early.
"They will have to indicate their readiness to conduct online [learning]. They will perhaps tell us what their facilities are, what their methods are. This will still entail the approval of the regional director," she said.
NO FACE-TO-FACE LEARNING
Briones said face-to-face learning, which involves physical interaction between students and teachers, will not be allowed until Aug. 24.
From Aug. 24, face-to-face learning shall only be allowed based on the risk assessment of local officials in the school's area and subject to compliance with health standards, she said.
The DepEd is offering schools a "menu" of learning delivery methods, said Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla. These include online platforms, printed materials that learners may take home, and blended learning, a mix of face-to-face learning and other modes.
Schools can choose learning delivery modes depending on the public health situation in their localities and the available resources, said Sevilla.
Distance learning activities will also be allowed on weekends because of the compressed school year, which is scheduled to end on April 30, 2021, according to Briones.
Briones added that Communications Secretary Martin Andanar also offered the use of the government's television and radio stations to help deliver lessons.
"They are expanding the scope and the reach of television and radio stations to implement the learning continuity program," she said.
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