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Duterte Can Order Reopening of Schools Past August in New Law

It has to be upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Education.
by John Paulo Aguilera
Jul 20, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano
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Not even COVID-19 can stop school year 2020-2021 from starting, even if it means having to move the school reopening again.

President Rodrigo Duterte just signed Republic Act (RA) No. 114, which allows him to adjust the opening of classes later than August during a disaster or pandemic.

According to the law, "The school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August: Provided, That in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency or state of calamity, the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Education, may set a different date for the start of the school year in the country or parts thereof."

The law, which is an amendment of RA No. 7797 Section 3 or an act to lengthen the school calendar from 200 to not more than 220 class days, applies to all basic education institutions, including foreign and international schools.

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The education secretary will then determine the end of the regular school year, after factoring in the Christmas and summer breaks, as well as the "peculiar instances of each region."

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, said in a statement: “The flexibility to move the opening of classes beyond August is crucial considering the uncertainties and threats posed by this pandemic.

“Even if face-to-face classes are deferred but COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the distribution of self-learning modules could still compromise the safety of our learners, teachers, parents, guardians, and other school personnel.”

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