In-person graduation still banned as pandemic continues

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 25 2021 12:05 PM | Updated as of May 25 2021 08:12 PM

In-person graduation still banned as pandemic continues 1
Robots standing in place of actual students receive graduation certificates during the “cyber-graduation” of Senator Renato "Compañero" Cayetano Memorial Science and Technology High School in Taguig City on May 22, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA (UPDATE) — In-person graduation and other end-of-school-year rites in basic education are still banned due to the continuing threat of COVID-19, the Department of Education said.

"To ensure the protection of the health and safety of learners, teachers and personnel, as well as parents and other stakeholders, any face-to-face ceremony is not allowed," the DepEd said in a memorandum issued Monday and signed by Secretary Leonor Briones.

Schools and community learning centers (CLCs) can instead hold virtual end-of-term rites "that will run in less than two hours to consider the internet connectivity that will be consumed," the agency said. 

Since the current school year will end on July 10, schools and CLCs can hold the end-of-term rites from July 12 to 16, the DepEd said.

The department said schools may also choose to reschedule or forego the activity "should the public health situation prevent the conduct of this year's [end-of-school-year] rites within the said week."

"Private schools shall be guided by their approved school calendars or revised school calendar," it added.

The DepEd noted that schools must first secure the consent of parents and learners before broadcasting the virtual term-ender rites on social media platforms.

In higher education, colleges and universities are still banned from holding in-person graduation ceremonies until the government lifts the prohibition on mass gatherings, according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Last year, both the DepEd and CHED banned in-person graduation and other end-of-term rites because of COVID-19, which has infected over a million in the country.

The DepEd has yet to announce the date for the start of the next school year, which will be decided on by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio earlier said the DepEd was ready to implement limited in-person classes next school year once Duterte gives the go-signal. He also assured the public that the department would be more responsive should full remote learning continue. 

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