MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) has issued guidelines on the conduct of graduation rites in basic education this year, the first time it allowed in-person ceremonies since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a memorandum issued Tuesday, the department said schools and community learning centers in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2 can choose to hold face-to-face graduation rites with limited attendance or a "hybrid ceremony" that involves live-streaming.
Schools must consult with the local government and parents regarding the conduct of graduation ceremonies, which must strictly comply with COVID-19 protocols, according to the DepEd.
The agency allowed limited in-person graduation rites "to give learners a sense of normalcy without risking their health and safety," the agency said.
"Schools must obtain parental consent for learners to attend the face-to-face ceremony," it added.
The DepEd said the following rules must also be observed.
- Face masks must be worn throughout the entire event
- A one-meter safe distance must be observed between individuals
- Participants must be seated at their assigned seats only
- Handshake or any other forms of physical contact is discouraged
- Only the parents or one designated guardian shall be permitted to accompany a mover or candidate for graduation
Meanwhile, schools under Alert Levels 3 to 5 can hold virtual ceremonies and "with the consent of the parents, they may livestream the EOSY (end-of-school-year) rites via appropriate online platforms."
The current school year (SY) is set to end on June 24, while graduation rites may take place from June 27 to July 2.
Schools that suspended classes earlier this year due to a surge in COVID-19 cases can adjust their academic calendars as long as they meet the 220-class days rule, the DepEd said.
"If classes were suspended for one week, then the EOSY rites may be on any of the dates between July 4 to 9, 2022," the department said.
"Should the public health situation prevent the conduct of this year's EOSY rites within the said week, schools, in consultation with the Parents-Teachers Association, may choose to reschedule or forego the activity," it added.
The DepEd also reminded schools that graduation ceremonies must not be used as a political forum, in light of the May 9 elections as well as the upcoming December barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls.
The theme of SY 2021-2022's graduation rites is "Gradweyt ng K to 12: Masigasig sa mga Pangarap at Matatag sa mga Pagsubok," highlighting how "Filipino learners remain resolute in their desire to build a better future" despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school year also saw Philippine schools gradually resume in-person classes at limited capacities, almost 2 years into the COVID-19 pandemic.