DepEd issues extended school calendar

After moving the school opening on October 5, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday issued a tentative school calendar for School Year (SY) 2020-2021.

DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio, during the “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” virtual press briefing, explained that the agency has to make certain adjustments in the school calendar and activities following the postponement of the Aug. 24 school opening.

“The school calendar has been adjusted and based on our tentative schedule, the first day of classes will be on Oct. 5 and the last day of classes for this school year is on June 16, 2021,” San Antonio explained in a mix of English and Filipino.

San Antonio also announced that the Christmas vacation will start on December 20, 2020 and classes will resume on January 3, 2021. “We have a total of 200 school days as mandated and required by existing laws,” he added.

In the Curriculum strand, San Antonio explained that the focus will be recalibrating quality assurance protocols to avoid errors in learning resources. “This is to ensure that the learning materials that will be used will be free of errors as we have seen during the dry run,” he said.

San Antonio also assured that DepEd will “push harder to ensure availability” of Self-Learning Modules (SLMs). “We will make sure as we’re able to finalize as soon as possible the policy guidelines on assessment,” he explained.

Likewise, San Antonio noted that the unit will “offer technical assistance to the field units in devising contingency mechanisms for learning continuity” as schools await the Oct. 5 formal school opening.

Extending the school calendar to June next year would also mean the “summer months” will be used up for schooling. After announcing that limited face-to-face classes will be allowed in low risk areas come June 2021, DepEd assured the necessary adjustments will be in place.

“We will still be using blended learning by then and so if limited face-to-face will be allowed, we will cut down the number of students who will use the classrooms,” San Antonio explained.

Recognizing the impact of extending the school year until June 2021, San Antonio said that DepEd is looking into various strategies that will ensure the safety of both teachers and students.

“We’re looking into a staggered schedule or lesser number of students who will come to school at least once a week,” San Antonio said once face-to-face classes are allowed. “Even if they were to attend schooling during summer months, it will be more comfortable since classrooms will be spacious since there are fewer students,” he added.