DepEd unlikely to issue academic freeze, official says

MANILA, Nov 17 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Education will not likely issue an academic freeze following the onslaught of several storms, an official said Tuesday.

Several groups called for an academic freeze or break after a series of typhoons ravaged parts of the country in the past weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic persisted.

No country has suspended its reopening of classes even when the pandemic hit, DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali said.

“Hindi na po siguro mangyayari ito dahil sa nabanggit ko, bukod (dito) maaaring i-correct niyo po ako, kung may alam po tayong bansa na maaaring hindi po nagtuloy ng kanilang unang araw ng pasukan dahil sa COVID-19, parang wala po,” he said.

“Kung gagawin nating barometro ang ginagawa ng buong mundo patungkol sa edukasyon ng mga bata, wala pong nagka-academic freeze dahil palagay po namin ito ang tamang polisya, ang magpatuloy. At ang nakikita po natin with the latest issuance ay maging flexible na lang tayo.”

The agency has implemented an “academic ease,” where students are given flexible time to submit requirements, said DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali.

“Di po tayo ngayon mahigpit na nagpapatupad ng requirements sa mga bata nang makasabay at matugunan po itong mga pangangailangan na ito,” he said.

Meantime, more than 1,000 schools in various regions were damaged by the typhoons as of Sunday, Umali said.

Some 448 schools in Bicol were destroyed following Super Typhoon Rolly’s onslaught earlier this month, followed by 412 schools in Central Luzon, 121 schools in Calabarzon, 91 in Cagayan Valley, 53 in Ilocos region, 41 in the Cordilleras, 15 in Mimaropa and 9 in Metro Manila, according to Umali.

Some 430 schools with 14,000 classrooms are housing 1,935 families as evacuation centers, he added. (MNS)

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