DepEd: Private schools may start online classes in June if allowed by IATF

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 6) - The start of classes may come earlier for private schools, should the government's Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) allow it, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said on Wednesday.

Briones clarified that the start of classes on August 24, which was earlier announced, would apply to both public and private schools.

"Private schools who want to open in June may do so if allowed by the IATF and DOH (Department of Health) guidelines, and no face-to-face for June," Briones said Wednesday.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is finalizing the Learning Continuity Plan (LCP), which will detail changes in policy and practices necessary to ensure education will continue amid the COVID-19 crisis.

"We have repeatedly consulted and collaborated with our partner institutions and organizations in crafting the LCP, which includes key features on K-12 curriculum adjustments, alignment of learning materials, various modalities of delivery, and corresponding teacher and parent or guardian training for homeschooling," the DepEd said in a statement.

"Our policies will also be continuously guided by science and by the advice of our health experts," it added.

The Learning Continuity Plan will have to be presented to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease once finalized.

Briones announced on Tuesday that the next school year will officially open on August 24 and end on April 30, 2021.

READ: School year 2020-21 to formally begin on August 24, says DepEd chief

The department said that the decision to delay the start of classes will help make sure that learners and teachers are given enough time to prepare and be equipped to adjust to the new learning environment.

Briones clarified that the start of the academic year 2020-2021 in August does not necessarily mean elementary and high school students will physically return to schools. Classes can be conducted online, until the government allows the reopening of school buildings, which were temporarily closed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease.

"Opening can be face-to-face or virtual, depending on the decisions of the IATF," Briones said. "No need for face-to-face if not allowed by IATF."

CNN Philippines' correspondent AC Nicholls contributed to this report.