DepEd: Conducting face-to-face graduation ceremonies is “highly discouraged”
With a little more than a month to go before school year 2021-2022 ends, the Department of Education (DepEd) has released Memorandum #43 series of 2022 which stipulates the guidelines for the conduct of end-of-school year (EOSY) rites. These include recognition ceremonies, moving-up ceremonies for those finishing Grade 10, as well as graduation ceremonies for students finishing kindergarten, Grade 6, and Grade 12.
The Filipino Scribe has previously reported that the official theme for all EOSY rites for school year 2021-2022 is “Gradweyt ng K to 12: Masigasig sa mga Pangarap at Matatag sa mga Pagsubok” or “K to 12 Graduates: Pursuing Dreams and Fostering Resilience in the Face of Adversity” in English.
DepEd reiterated that schools and community learning centers in areas under alert level #1 and #2 or those at low risk for local COVID-19 transmission may opt to hold a limited face-to-face or hybrid ceremony “with strict
compliance to the IATF protocols to give learners a sense of normalcy without risking their health and safety.”
Schools are also required to get the parental consent for leamers who intend to attend the face-to-face ceremony. There must also be coordination with the concerned local government units.
While DepEd seems to give leaders and their parents the option of choosing between conducting these activities on-site or online, the agency has made its preference clear in number six of the aforementioned memorandum: “To ensure the protection ofthe health, safety, and well-being of learners, teachers, personnel, as well as parents, and other stakeholders, the face-to-face conduct of the end-of-school-year rites is highly discouraged.”
This development, which is sure to disappoint students and their parents around the country, comes amidst the confirmation of the Department of Health (DOH) that there is now local transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA 2.12.1. It has been three years since in-person graduation ceremonies were last held in public schools in the country, and this was in 2019.