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School graduation exercises to push through for now, says DepEd

Department of Education XI spokesperson Jenielito Atillo says graduation and moving-up exercises in public schools are not canceled for now, during the AFP-PNP media forum at the Royal Mandaya Hotel Wednesday. Bing Gonzales

Moving-up and commencement exercises are not suspended in the region for now, even with President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a state of public health emergency last March 8.

The declaration came after the Department of Health (DOH) raised the Covid-19 Alert System to Code Red Sublevel 1.

“There is so much that we are still trying to clarify if we still (need) to proceed to a situation whereby we conduct recognition or graduation exercises for this year,” said DepEd XI spokesperson Jenielito Atillo in an interview on Tuesday.

The DepEd Memorandum 034 released this week did not provide any guidelines on the cancellation or suspension of the graduation exercises.

“The one prohibited in that (memo) are the off-campus activities, which means (that) we can still conduct graduation and recognition exercises,” he added.

On March 9, the Department issued DepEd Memorandum No.034, the fifth policy of the DepEd Task Force COVID-19, suspending all off-campus congregations and gatherings for national and regional activities.

Atillo noted, however, that these activities must be done “provided that it is conducted inside the school campuses not outside, (and) not utilizing other areas or other establishments.”

He also stressed that school authorities must also ensure that everyone is in good health to participate in the said activities. Learners who exhibit flu-like symptoms are barred from attending the event.

“They are mandated not to really attend because we do not know what is in there. It is one way of ensuring that everybody will be safe,” he said.

Should the graduation or recognition exercises push through, Atillo said, “as much as possible only the learners, few of the parents, and only the school personnel are to attend.”

“Those who do not have direct participation, are advised not to join anymore. Instead, they could just celebrate at their homes later,” he said.

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