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Local DepEd officials allowed to suspend classes

/ 05:48 AM January 14, 2022

The Department of Education (DepEd) has authorized regional directors and schools division superintendents to suspend classes in January based on the health of their teachers and students, but the department exhorted school officials to “exercise discretion” in the suspension of classes and activities.

Under DepEd Memorandum No. DM-CI-2022-009, dated Jan. 12, Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said regional directors and schools division superintendents were authorized to “decide on the specific dates and number of days of suspension for the suspension of classes as long as the period of class suspension does not exceed two weeks in order to avoid a prolonged disruption in the current school calendar.”

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If classes were to be suspended, local DepEd officials are mandated to make necessary adjustments to meet the number of school days required under Republic Act No. 11480, a law which amended Republic Act No. 7707, or An Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from 200 Days to Not More Than 220 Class Days.

‘Contextualized actions’

“During the suspension of classes, all synchronous and asynchronous classes shall be put on hold while submission of academic requirements and conduct of other teaching-related activities must be moved to a later date,” the document said.

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The Alliance of Concerned Teachers in a statement on Thursday called the new order a “huge win” after the group earlier urged the DepEd to “take a decisive action” in declaring a two-week health break “as nearly half of the country is now under alert level 3, instead of passing on the decision to local offices.”

San Antonio underscored during a press briefing on Wednesday that Briones’ policy was to take “contextualized actions.”

“We listen to local governments [and] the Department of Health so it really depends on the situation [at the local level],” he said.

In Manila City, Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso issued an executive order declaring a weeklong health break from Jan. 14 to Jan. 21 for private and public schools at all levels.

“Parents have a high anxiety level for their children, and the anxiety level of teachers [is also the same],” he said, adding that infected students, parents and teachers could use the one-week break to rest and recover.

Meanwhile, Commission on Higher Education Chair Prospero De Vera III during the Laging Handa press briefing on Thursday said 126 higher education institutions had declared academic break at the start of January.

“Even though they were not yet placed under alert level 3, they already declared [an academic break],” De Vera said, noting that 123 more universities are planning to implement a break toward the end of the month.

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TAGS: class suspension, DepEd, Education, suspension of classes
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