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DepEd eyes in-person graduation rites

In-person graduation at the University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao. STORY: DepEd eyes in-person graduation rites

ALL VAXXED: Some 300 graduating students of the University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao (USLT) hold an in-person graduation ceremony, a first for Cagayan province during the coronavirus pandemic, on Feb. 5, 2022, while strictly observing health protocols and for everyone in attendance to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. (PHOTO COURTESY OF USLT)

MANILA, Philippines — Two years after the suspension of mass gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, graduating students at the basic education level may be allowed to experience physical graduation rites this year, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said at a recent press conference she was optimistic that schools would be able to hold in-person graduation ceremonies, depending on the risk assessment in their area.

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“If the [risk assessment in different regions] continues to improve, the chances of [allowing] the conduct of [in-person] graduation also increases,” she said.

The Office of the Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction is currently creating the guidelines on how to implement the activity.

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“Since we have allowed limited [in-person classes], that means limited [in-person] graduation ceremonies are also possible,” said Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio.

Just like how the in-person classes were implemented, the graduation rites would not be like the pre-pandemic setup as proper health and safety measures will be observed, he said.

“We will regulate it and we will follow the social distancing requirements,” the undersecretary added.

By batch

One of the models that their office was studying is doing the graduation ceremony by batch.

“There is a possibility that it’s not just one ceremony for all. There may be one group assigned for the first hour if the venue where the graduation would be held is small,” San Antonio said.

Briones said they were hoping that the graduation season would not reach bad news, or an increase of COVID-19 cases and change of alert level status.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, also called on the conduct of in-person graduation rites, noting that parents and students must be given a chance to experience this since “we have been doing activities involving big crowds like election campaigns.”

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“The joy brought by the graduation of the students prompts many parents who work abroad to go back to the country and attend their ceremonies. Amid the continuing decline of COVID-19 cases, it is time to give this chance to parents and their kids,” he said in a statement.

Gatchalian called on the country’s pandemic managers to allow in-person graduation rites in Metro Manila and other areas that have shifted to alert level 1, the lowest COVID-19 classification.

‘Once in a lifetime moments’

“If we are already allowed to hold activities with large gatherings of people, such as election campaigns, then our parents and learners should also be given the chance to have [an in-person] graduation,” Gatchalian said.

The senator emphasized that for both parents and students, graduation ceremonies “are once in a lifetime moments.”

“Considering the eased restrictions and the country’s improving situation … parents and students should be able to fully relish their moments of pride,” Gatchalian said.

The senator warned, however, that public health protocols should still be observed to avoid turning graduation ceremonies into superspreader events.

RELATED STORIES

Cagayan university holds in-person graduation amid pandemic

Time to allow in-person graduation ceremonies — Gatchalian

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TAGS: COVID-19 restrictions, DepEd, in-person graduation, Leonor Briones
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