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Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a bill seeking to defer the opening of classes to September amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senate Bill 1438 seeks to amend Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7977 or the Act on Lengthening of School Calendar, which specifically provides that the school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

Sotto said his bill is based on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to move the opening of classes to September as children can also be carriers of COVID-19.

He said moving the start of the school year to September will give the Department of Education (DepEd) more time to prepare and adopt measures for the “new normal” caused by the pandemic.

“Since what we have at the moment is a health emergency, there are no other views more important than the ones from the medical experts, particularly on the matter of preventing, fighting and eventually, putting an end to this virus. Therefore, the recommendation of the IATF-EID to move the school year to September must necessarily be put into effect,” he stressed.

Senator Joel Villanueva also filed a similar measure authorizing the DepEd Secretary to postpone the start of the school year in case of a declaration of a state of emergency, state of calamity or similar occurrence.

Under Senate Bill 1452, DepEd shall ensure education continuity by utilizing alternative modalities of learning such as modular instruction, online, digital or mobile learning, radio or television-based instruction and blended leaning or a combination of various modalities.

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