By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) officially announced on April 15, Wednesday, that the conduct of End-of-School-Year (EOSY) activities such as graduation rites and moving up ceremonies at all basic education levels for School Year (SY) 2019-2020 have been “postponed indefinitely” amid the continued threat of COVID-19 in the country.
“Graduation rites for SY 2019-2020 are postponed indefinitely,” DepEd said in an advisory. DepEd said that the move is in line with the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and in different parts of the country, and the continued restriction of the Department of Health (DOH) on mass gatherings.
DepEd said that the postponement of graduation and moving up rites covers basic education learners throughout the country. The department also clarified that the EOSY rites previously recommended to be conducted on the week of April 13 to 17 as per Department Order (DO) 02, s. 2020 and Department Memorandum (DM) 42, s. 2020, are now “cancelled.”
“Schools, in consultation with the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) leadership, can decide to reschedule or forego the holding of the rites once the ECQ or localized community quarantine is lifted,” DepEd said. “If holding the rites will push through, DOH guidelines on mass gatherings must be observed,” the agency added.
Earlier, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that conduct of EOSY rites will not be allowed while the ECQ is still in place. “This is not only applicable in Luzon with the extended enhanced community quarantine but also nationwide because there is a significant number of [local government units] that have declared their own community quarantines,” she explained.
Not the first time
Briones said that this will not be the first time that graduation and other EOSY rites have been postponed.
“There are many instances where graduation rites and other ceremonies were cancelled or postponed,” Briones said, noting that natural calamities and other events have forced schools not to push through with the EOSY activities.
For instance, Briones said that graduation rites were postponed during World War II and also in the aftermath of natural calamities. “Historically, this has happened before. Schools can still reschedule the rites or ceremonies at a later date if they still wish to,” she added.
Currently, Briones said that all other events such as national, regional, division, district, and school activities, including off-campus ones, that involved congregation of learners and/or teachers that have scheduled are also on-hold indefinitely as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.