By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
As a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Education (DepEd) has indefinitely suspended all events and activities that draw large crowds – especially those that require participation of learners and teachers.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in a recent virtual public briefing, announced that DepEd has decided to temporarily cancel all activities and events – particularly those that are scheduled in the coming months.
“Our usual exciting activities, particularly national events, participated in representatives coming from various parts of the country are temporarily canceled,” Briones said, after announcing that the school opening for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 has been moved from June to August this year.
In particular, Briones confirmed that the Palarong Pambansa (National Games) which was initially scheduled on May 1 to 9, 2020 and to be hosted by Marikina City has been cancelled. Earlier, DepEd also directed the suspension of Regional Athletic Meets where the participants for the Palaro will come from.
At the outset of the virus outbreak, DepEd suspended all national, regional, division, district, and school activities, including off-campus ones, that involved congregation of students and/or teachers. Aside from the Palaro, Briones said that all events related to the “Brigada Eskwela” or the National Schools Maintenance Week are also on hold.
DepEd, in a memorandum issued earlier, noted that since all activities related to the “Brigada Eskwela” are temporarily suspended, it will “spearhead the engagement of our private partners and other public/private stakeholders to solicit donations for purchase of personal hygiene items, thermal scanners, multivitamins, cleaning materials, among others, to be distributed to all schools nationwide.”
In the same public briefing, Briones mentioned that other DepEd events and activities that are suspended indefinitely include campus journalism events, talent contests, science and fairs.
Among the biggest annual national events of DepEd include the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC), National Festival of Talents (NFOT), and National Science and Technology Fair (NSTF). For 2020, all these events were held earlier this year. It was not specified if these events that are scheduled in 2021 will also be suspended.
As of May 5, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that there are 9,684 confirmed cases; 1,408 recoveries; and 637 deaths related to COVID-19.