The Department of Education–National Capital Region and Calabarzon on Friday suspended classes in public schools due to the rise in coronavirus infections in the two regions.
For Metro Manila, both elementary and secondary public schools will have no classes from January 15 to 22.
For Calabarzon, the class suspension will take effect from January 17 to 29.
Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said private schools can also declare their own class suspensions for a maximum period of two weeks “subject to their conditions.”
Earlier, the Commission on Higher Education said academic break had been imposed by 126 universities, mostly in Metro Manila and nearby Calabarzon region since the first week of January amid the surge of COVID-19 cases.
In Regional Memorandum 017, DepEd-NCR said the suspension of classes was done to ease the health burden caused by the surge of COVID-19 cases to the physical and mental well-being of school personnel and learners.
It added classes in the region will resume from January 24 to 29, but “only for asynchronous distance learning modalities.”
Learners are expected to use the mid-year break scheduled on January 31 to February to comply with their learning output backlogs.
Teachers, on the other hand, are expected to attend their usual activities – in-service training and learning-related undertakings.
Learners must submit their learning outputs between February 7 and 12 through online platforms.
The second quarter examinations are scheduled for February 7 and 8.
“The lost contact days shall be compensated by mechanisms such as independent study, remediation, enhancement activities and other related teaching-learning interactions,” DepEd said.
On Wednesday, DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said the department cannot declare a national academic break as COVID-19 situations on the ground are different in every area. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
On the other hand, he urged regional and school division offices to use their discretion in suspending classes and other teaching-related activities due to the rise of infections.
The suspension of classes by DepEd-NCR coincided with a call by a legislator in Congress for education leaders to heed students, parents, and teachers’ calls for health breaks and academic ease.
In filing his resolution, Rep. Alfred Vargas of Quezon City backed proposals to the DepEd and CHED to implement more reasonable workloads and requirements in view of an unprecedented rise in new COVID-19 cases throughout the Philippines.
“With the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases affecting our fellow Filipinos’ mental well-being and the financial capacity of families — as well as the capacity of our learners and students to cope and adjust in a healthy way — government must explore innovative, compassionate, and proactive programs and policies that address these real concerns,” he said.
In his resolution, Vargas, an assistant majority leader and brother of congressional candidate Patrick Michael Vargas, said that the pandemic “is as much a mental health issue as it is an issue of physical health.”