By the SovereignPH.com Staff

MANILA – A month of August schools opening for the calendar year is being studied by the Department of Education under the present circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

And education chief Leonor Briones, who herself overcame the virus after testing positive of COVID-19 in March, said the department is “leaning towards opening schools on August 4 due to restrictions placed in the country to contain the spread of the coronavirus.”

“The leaning is towards August 4 opening,” she said.

Briones recently appeared as guest of CNN’s The Source.

During the interview, Briones explained DepEd has had been conducting nationwide consultations including with business partners and education experts on when school year will start in 2020.

Final exams for students as already been cancelled owing the pandemic along with physical graduation ceremonies during COVID-19 outbreak.

Briones also explained that the August opening is backed up by a Republic Act (7977) on lengthening of school calendar.

The said law, the education chief explained, holds that opening of classes should be made between the first week of June and the last day of August.

“It looks like the trend is really pointing to August 4,” Briones added in a mix of English and Filipino.

However, Briones stressed that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseaases may still have to make an assessment on enhanced community quarantine guidelines, and its decision will affect DepEd’s moves, including on graduation ceremonies that have since been postponed amid lockdown.

Saturday classes

However, Briones cautioned that for the August 4 opening of classes to work, it should comply with the requirement of 180 school days if it would end in March next year.

“We are considering [holding] Saturday classes, but [this will not be] face to face classes,” Briones said adding that learners may do their work at home.

“They do not need to [go to school] so the children will not be bored on Saturdays,” she added.

RA 7977 also provides that the Secretary of Education “may authorize the holding of Saturday classes for elementary and secondary levels for public and private schools.”

Meanwhile, last Monday, Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan told DZMM that the department is eyeing utilizing information communication technology (ICT) platforms for learners. This can be done through television and radio.

Briones said they are looking into “alternative delivery modes” that do not require face to face interactions among students and teachers. (ia/SovereignPH.com)

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