MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday said it is allowing its regional and school division offices to suspend classes and other teaching-related activities amid the steep increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.
In a memorandum, the DepEd said its regional offices (RO) and school division offices (SDO) may exercise discretion in suspending classes and other activities based on their assessment of the health status of teachers and learners, and the IATF risk classification.
“Given the varying health situations in different areas, the ROs/SDOs are given the option, based on their reliable assessment of the health status of their teachers and learners and the IATF risk classification, to declare the suspension of classes within the month of January 2022,” the agency said.
“The ROs/SDOs shall decide on the specific dates and number of days for the suspension of classes as long as the period of class suspension does not exceed 2 weeks in order to avoid a prolonged disruption in the current school calendar,” it added.
The DepEd said that during the suspension of classes, “all synchronous and asynchronous classes will be put on hold while submission of academic requirements and conduct of other teaching-related activities must be moved to a later date.”
“For late submission of requirements, accommodations must be afforded for those with valid reasons,” it added.
Regional offices and school division offices should also make necessary adjustments in the school calendar to ensure that the number of schools days in the current school year remains in accordance with Republic Act (RA) 11480, which amends Section 3 of RA 7797 or An Act to lengthen the school calendar from 200 days to not more than 220 class days.
Furthermore, the department reminded schools to adhere to its policy on academic ease “to ensure flexibility in the teaching-learning process amid the pandemic by recalibrating the strategy of assigning teaching responsibilities and learning activities in order to safeguard the well-being of both teachers and learners.”
Meanwhile, private schools, in consultation with their respective parents’ associations, may exercise their own discretion relative to the suspension of classes and K to 12 learning activities when COVID-19 risks in their respective areas are high, the DepEd said.