MANILA — The Department of Education said Thursday the coming school year will still start on Aug. 24 despite calls from various teachers' groups for a postponement.
Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said the decision to start classes on the said date was not made solely by the department but also in consultation with President Rodrigo Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
"Matagal na tayong nagkaroon ng desisyon... ang opening pa rin natin ay Aug. 24," Mateo said in an interview.
(We've had this decision for a long time... Our opening is still on August 24.)
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers and Teachers' Dignity Coalition have asked government to move the school opening date, arguing that schools were not yet ready to implement the various alternative learning modes to in-person classes.
The groups said self-learning modules have not been shared to some schools or have yet to be printed, and that the DepEd has yet to set up health protocols to prevent education workers from getting COVID-19, among other reasons.
Mateo said the DepEd's learning continuity plan was developed to cope with the changes brought about by the pandemic.
"Ang consideration natin ay [Our consideration is] risk severity categories, from the highest to modified," he said.
Teachers can depend on PhilHealth in case they get sick, said Mateo.
The DepEd is in the process of acquiring more gadgets for public school teachers.
The education department is set to hold a dry run of its distance learning plans on Aug. 10, which would be streamed on its Facebook page, and shown on PTV-4 and IBC-13.
Some 22.6 million learners have enrolled in public and private schools nationwide, DepEd data showed Thursday morning.
Under DepEd's distance learning plans, lessons will be delivered to students via modules, online classes, television and radio.
The DepEd has given regional and division offices, and schools the latitude to decide which learning modality would be suit their students.