DepEd: Private schools allowed to open classes ahead of Oct. 5

Published August 15, 2020, 6:13 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

As long as there are no face-to-face classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Saturday said that private schools and other non-DepEd schools will be allowed to continue or proceed with their respective school openings.

DepEd said that “private or non-DepEd schools that have already started their classes, or are scheduled to start classes on Aug. 24 or on other dates ahead of Oct. 5, are allowed to proceed provided they are strictly using only distance learning modalities and that there are no face-to-face classes.”

DepEd said the clarification allowing private schools to continue their operations came after conferring with the Office of the Executive Secretary on the applicability of the President’s decision to private schools and other non-DepEd schools.

Data from DepEd showed that as of Aug.  5, there are 1, 277 private schools that have started their operations ahead of the Aug. 24 school opening. 

There are also 2, 195 private schools that are scheduled to start their classes on Aug. 24; 26 schools before the first week of September; 15 schools on the first week of September, and at least 75 schools without definite date yet.

DepEd said that private schools that will open ahead of the Oct. 5 schedule will be required to “submit the relevant documents” to the regional director as required by DepEd Order No. 7, Series of 2020 (School Calendar and Activities for School Year 2020-2021) as well as DepEd Order No. 13, Series of  2020, and DepEd Order No. 17, Series of 2020 on readiness assessment.

On Friday, Education Secretary Leonor Briones formally announced the decision of President Duterte to defer the opening for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 from Aug. 24, 2020 to Oct. 5, 2020. 

The decision came  after the DepEd Secretary recommended the postponement of school opening in light of the implications of the imposition of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and  Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan.  

The latest school opening deferment is pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 11480, which amended RA No. 7797, providing that the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Education, may set a date later than the last day of August for the start of the school year in the country or parts thereof in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency or state of calamity.

Unsure whether or not private schools are covered by the Aug. 24 school opening deferment, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) —  which serves as the unifying voice of private education in the Philippines 

 — earlier appealed to the President to exempt the private schools that are “ready for school opening.” 

The organization, composed of more than 2,500 educational institutions nationwide, said the private education sector has been “tirelessly preparing at the onset of this pandemic and massive efforts and solutions were made to address the learning crisis.”