MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) remained firm in its decision to start the coming school year on Aug. 22 despite calls to postpone the school opening.
"Tuloy na tuloy na tayo. Wala nang atrasan. August 22, 2022 ang opening of classes natin this year," DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo on Monday.
(We're pushing through with this. There's no backing out. We will open our classes this year on August 22, 2022.)
The Teachers' Dignity Coalition has urged the DepEd to move the school opening to mid-September, arguing that the school break was insufficient to allow teachers to recover from the previous academic year and prepare for the next one.
But Poa said "many" have already participated in the Brigada Eskwela program, where stakeholders and volunteers prepare schools for the coming school year.
The spokesman added that the DepEd was coordinating with other government agencies for the school opening, such as trade department to regulate the prices of school supplies, and the Department of Health to vaccinate students and school personnel against COVID-19.
Poa also cited Republic Act No. 7797, which prohibits the school year to start beyond August.
This week, the DepEd will also start building temporary learning spaces for schools affected by the powerful earthquake that struck Luzon last July 27, Poa said.
"We are also in contact with [local government units] para sa spaces na hindi nila nagagamit or hindi naman usually nagagamit, baka puwede ipahiram muna as temporary learning spaces," he added.
(We are also in contact with local government units for spaces that they no longer use or don't usually use, perhaps we can use these as temporary learning spaces.)
The DepEd reported last week that the number of schools damaged by the magnitude 7 earthquake rose to 427, with the estimated cost for repairs at P2.1 billion.
The DepEd has required all public and private schools to shift to 5 days of in-person learning by November.