By Genalyn Kabiling
The government has allowed the limited operations of colleges and universities in areas not covered by enhanced community quarantine starting May 4.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the higher education institutions (HEIs) have been authorized to operate with a skeletal force “only for purposes of finishing the Academic Year 2019-2020, issuing credentials to students, and preparing for flexible learning arrangements for the next academic year.”
The decision was handed down by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) during a meeting last Monday.
The proposed school opening in September, meantime, still hinges on the decision of the Department of Education (DepEd).
“The September recommendation remains subject to final approval of the Department of Education,” Roque said during a virtual press conference Tuesday.
Roque earlier announced that the IATF recommended the opening of classes to September subject to compliance with the law and DepEd’s recommendation.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said the opening of classes for next school year may be moved to August following consultations amid the quarantine restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
President Duterte has ordered the extension of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and several areas with high risk of the coronavirus infection until May 15.
Several places with moderate and low risk of COVID-19 infection will be placed under general community quarantine where restrictions will be relaxed starting May 1.