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CHED hits proposal to suspend classes until December

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
CHED hits proposal to suspend classes until December
Responding to a suggestion to suspend classes until yearend, CHED chairman J. Prospero de Vera III said any decision must take into consideration the differences of the situation, noting areas where there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — It is irresponsible at this point to recommend a nationwide suspension of classes until December due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Responding to a suggestion to suspend classes until yearend, CHED chairman J. Prospero de Vera III said any decision must take into consideration the differences of the situation, noting areas where there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“Any decision on suspension of classes must be based on available and reliable health and economic data on the ground,” he told The STAR yesterday.

De Vera also stressed the need to consider the economic impact of policies on public and private universities and the enterprises that support educational activities.

On Tuesday, University of the Philippines Resilience Institute executive director Mahar Lagmay suggested the suspension of classes nationwide until the end of the year to further minimize transmission of the disease.

Lagmay, who co-heads the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team, said about 56 percent of their models showed that the mode of virus transmission is rapid among students, particularly when they are in school.

But De Vera questioned the policy justification for suspending classes even in provinces without confirmed COVID cases.

“Government must consider the economic impact of this proposal on the 1,600+ private universities that will not operate for half a year while continuing to pay the salaries of their faculty, employees and maintain their facilities,” he added.

The Department of Education (DepEd) urged the UP experts to engage with them regarding their suggestion.

“This is under deliberation and consultation within DepEd and with partners. We are looking at facts and evidence, including theirs,” said Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan.

“We hope the UP experts would not preempt this decision without even checking with the department,” he added.

Earlier, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said they are conducting broad consultations with different sectors regarding the opening of classes in public elementary and high schools this year.

“The responses favor any day in August as the preferred opening of the school year,” she said, adding that they would soon release the results of the survey participated by over 800,000 respondents.

Briones said they would also take into account recommendations of the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases before making a decision.

“What we assure our learners, parents, teachers and the general public is that any decision we will make for the continuation of learning will have their health, safety and well-being as primary consideration,” she said.

“We are accelerating the preparation of our Learning Continuity Plan, preparing benefits for our teaching and non-teaching staff, ensuring the readiness and cleanliness of our school infrastructure and developing alternative delivery modes of learning,” added the secretary.

DepEd disputed a circulating document claiming to be the adjusted school calendar for the next school year.

“The DepEd will officially release the school calendar for school year 2020-2021 through a DepEd Memorandum that will be posted on the DepEd website and announced through the DepEd Philippines Facebook page,” it said.

Virtual graduation

For the Iligan City National High School, the threat of the global pandemic should not be a reason to prevent their students from celebrating a major milestone in their lives.

Last Friday, the school held its first-ever virtual graduation rites – which streamed live on Facebook and YouTube –  to recognize 855 students who successfully completed the senior high school program this year.

Graduation photos of the students were flashed as their names were called, while a clip of students singing their graduation songs from their homes capped the four-hour event.

“Much as we want to conduct the actual celebration, we are duty bound to respond to the call of our national government to stay at home and stay safe,” said assistant principal Jose Salvador.

Science, engineering, technology and mathematics track student Alglen Balagulan, who graduated with high honors, delivered the commencement address on behalf of the class.

PLM, MSU mass passing

All the students of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) will receive a passing mark due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university announced yesterday.

In Memorandum No. 2020-0421-01 dated Tuesday, PLM president Emmanuel Leyco said the Board of Regents unanimously approved the alternative grading system proposed by the University Council that would give all students a passing mark in the current semester.

Mindanao State University (MSU) has also officially ended its semester and adopted a mass promotion policy for all deserving students.

In the guidelines, basic education and college students within the MSU system who have been attending classes prior to the suspension of classes in March would receive a “P” or pass mark.

“No failing grade shall be given, unless the student was not attending classes. In this case, a ‘DRP’ (Dropped) mark will be given instead,” it added. – With Marc Jayson Cayabyab

CHED CLASSES DECEMBER
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