By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores


It is unlikely to conduct face-to-face graduation rites for this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, an official from the Department of Education (DepEd) said Tuesday.

"Tungkol sa face-to-face graduation, ang tingin ko hindi pa rin [papayagan]. Pero virtual, payag," said Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio in an interview. 

He added the DepEd will soon release the guidelines for the safe conduct of graduation rites for academic year 2020-2021.

"At the end of the day, ang tatanungin nila kung gusto nilang gawin iyon, compliant ba 'yan sa IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) guidelines," he added. 

San Antonio also said the agency will allow private schools to decide and exercise their discretion on how they plan to conduct graduation rites, as long as they would comply with health and safety protocols. 

Meanwhile, Jose Allan Arellano, the executive director of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines said private schools are coordinating with local DepEd offices in holding “graduations according to their lockdown status." 

"Most of those who gave feedback to us are doing virtual graduation to avoid gatherings," Arellano told ABS-CBN News. 

Classes in public schools started October 5 last year as the education system shifted to alternative learning modalities due to the pandemic. The present school year is set to end on July 10, 2021 while the next academic year is slated to begin on August 23, 2021.