The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved the Department of Education’s (DepEd) recommendations on the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) in the light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health crisis.

Citing Palace spokesman Harry Roque, DepEd said the school opening would be moved to Aug. 24 for basic education “in consideration of the adjustments needed to deter further the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 among children vulnerable to the disease.”

The post also said that private schools might opt to begin the new school year earlier in June, “but the IATF advises that the school management adopt online classes or other learning delivery options that would adhere to the social distancing regulations set by the Department of Health.”

Part of the resolution, which was presented by Education Secretary Leonor Briones to the IATF, ordered the cancellation of curricular and co-curricular activities involving mass gatherings such as science fairs, showcase of portfolios, trade fairs, school sports, campus journalism, festival of talents, job fairs, and other similar activities, “except those conducted online.”

The enrollment period is slated from June 1–30 and “shall use online or other innovative ways to adhere to social distancing protocols.”

The BE-LCP also directed teachers to start rendering service on June 1 by attending “orientation and training activities on the utilization of the distance learning delivery modalities, prepare instructional materials, and plan the organization of classes in consideration of the learning delivery modalities to be employed.”

Before Aug. 24, students will be given “assignments to explore foundational topics for deepening during the year, orientation on the utilization of alternative learning delivery modalities and corresponding learners’ materials, and mental health and psychosocial support activities.”

The new school year will end on April 30, 2021. (Jojo Mangahis)