Limited face to face graduation allowed in Alert Level 1 and 2 areas

CEBU, Philippines —  Schools in areas under Alert Level 1 and 2 can conduct limited face-to-face graduation ceremonies or end-of-school year (EOSY) rites but those under higher alert level will have to go virtual again.

According to the Department of Education, the EOSY rites will be for the kindergarten, Grade 6, 10, and 12 learners who shall satisfactorily meet the curriculum requirements at the end of School Year 2021-2022, including the learners who passed the portfolio assessment in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) for both elementary and junior high levels.

Although the face-to-face conduct of the EOSY rites is still discouraged by DepEd due to safety concerns amid the pandemic, schools and community learning centers (CLCs) in Alert Level 1 and 2 areas may opt to hold a limited face-to-face or hybrid ceremony in consultation with the local government unit as well as parents/guardians.

Schools also have to ask for parental consent for learners to attend the face-to-face ceremony for those allowed to have it.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in her memorandum, emphasized that the EOSY rites should be done “with strict compliance with the IATF protocols to give learners a sense of normalcy without risking their health and safety.”

Among the protocols to be observed include the wearing of face masks throughout the entire event and observance of at least a one-meter safe distance between individuals. Participants must be seated at their assigned seats only.

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Handshakes or any other form of physical contact is discouraged.

Only the parents or one designated guardian shall be permitted to accompany a mover or candidate for graduation.

When applicable, schools in Alert Levels 3, 4, and 5 will have to hold their EOSY rites virtually. With the consent of the parents, they may livestream the EOSY rites via appropriate online platforms.

The virtual conduct of the EOSY rites may be an option for schools and CLCS, whenever feasible. Schools and CLCS may prepare a short program that will run in not more than two hours in consideration of the internet connectivity required.

Only the completers/candidates for graduation, together with their parents/guardians, teachers, school officials, and invited guests shall be present during the virtual rites.

The recognition rites for other grade levels may also be conducted virtually or on a limited face-to-face setup.

However, if done on a limited face-to-face set up, it must be conducted separately from the graduation rites or moving up/completion ceremony to ensure physical distancing and adherence to IATF health protocols.

Along with this, schools are expected that EOSY rites are to be conducted in a solemn and dignified manner and will not be used as a political forum.

This year’s EOSY rites will carry the theme “Masigasig sa mga Pangarap at Matatag sa mga Pagsubok (K to 12 Graduates: Pursuing Dreams and Fostering Resilience in the Face of Adversity).

This is to emphasize that “despite the risks and uncertainty brought by COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as the challenges it has posed to education, Filipino learners remain resolute in their desire to build a better future anchored on a clear vision,” Briones said.

Based on this school year’s calendar of activities, the fourth quarter is expected to end on June 24, 2022.

For schools that did not suspend classes, the EOSY rites shall be on any of the dates from July 27 to July 2, 2022, while for those that suspended classes for a week due to the Covid-19 surge, the rites may be held in any dates from July 4 to 9.

Private schools may implement the schedule as reflected in their respective school calendars.

“In assessing the viability of conducting SY 2O2L-2O22 EOSY rites, public health and safety are still deemed the topmost concern amidst the ongoing progress in COVID19 testing and vaccination. Hence, the scenarios projected by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging infectious Diseases (IAIF-EID), complemented by other credible sources and DepEd risk assessment, shall be considered,” Briones added.

Should the public health situation prevent the conduct of this year's EOSY rites within the said week, schools, in consultation with the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA), may choose to reschedule or forego the activity.

Private schools, on the other hand, shall be guided by their approved or revised school calendar. – JMD (FREEMAN)

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