While students will not physically go to schools to attend their classes this school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday said that class suspensions might still be declared especially during inclement weather or during "extreme cases."
DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio, during the “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” virtual press briefing, explained that classes may still be suspended even if distance or blended learning is implemented this year.
“Classes may still be suspended in extreme cases like if there’s typhoon,” San Antonio explained in a mix of English and Filipino. The local government units (LGUs), he explained, are the ones that declare suspension of classes.
“Personally, I think there should be no classes on the day of the typhoon,” San Antonio said. “On account of heavy rains or if there’s a blackout, holding classes might not be applicable,” he added. Since home-based learning will be imposed, he noted that the number of days that classes will be “might be shorter” compared to when in-person schooling was in place.
Pursuant to Executive Order No. 66, s. 2012 signed by former President Benigno Aquino III, cancellation or suspension of classes is no longer under the jurisdiction of DepEd. The local executives have the authority to declare class suspension based on the situation in their areas of responsibility.
However, respective school division offices also have the discretion to suspend classes “if needed” as long as they closely coordinate with local disaster units and respective DepEd regional offices.
DepEd has been reminding the public that they “no longer need to wait for DepEd’s announcement on class suspension.” Pursuant to EO No. 66, s. 2012, “localized cancellation or suspension of classes and work in government offices may be implemented by local chief executives, as chairmen of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) concerned, in coordination with PAGASA and the NDRRMC, specifically in flood-prone or high risk areas” in the absence of typhoon signal warnings.
DepEd reiterated that the rules on automatic suspension of classes remain the same: Storm Signal No. 1 suspends classes in kindergarten; Signal No. 2 suspends classes in kindergarten, elementary, and high school; and Signal No. 3 suspends classes from kindergarten to college - including graduate schools and government offices.
Based on the tentative school calendar, 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. Christmas vacation for this school year is also scheduled to start on December 20, 2020 and the classes will resume on January 3, 2021. As mandated and required by existing laws, DepEd said that there will be a total of 200 school days for SY 2020-2021.