DepEd postpones high school, elementary graduation rites nationwide

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — Graduation rites in the country will be postponed indefinitely due to the extension of the enhanced community quarantine and government's restriction on mass gatherings, the Education Department said Wednesday.

"The graduation and moving up rites in basic education throughout the country is postponed indefinitely," the DepEd said in its advisory.

Citing Department Order 02 and Department Memorandum 42, the DepEd said that schools, in consultation with the Parent-Teachers Association leadership, can schedule or forego the holding of the ceremonies once the community quarantine in their respective areas have been lifted.

It clarified that those who would still insist on pushing through with the ceremonies after the lifting of the quarantine in their areas must strictly follow physical distancing protocol from the Department of Health.

"If holding the rites will push through, DOH guidelines on mass gatherings must be observed," the DepEd said.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, who herself had just recovered from COVID-19, initially scheduled the end-of-school year rites on April 13 to 17, with emphasis on physical distancing measures for all schools.

Majority of the scheduled programs of the DepEd, including preparations for school openings, have already been put on hold due to the enhanced community quarantine.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under lockdown on March 17. The quarantine, which was supposed to end at midnight of April 13, was then extended until April 30 as the government continues to address the COVID-19 crisis. Some other areas outside Luzon have also temporarily shut down their borders or imposed a lockdown to contain the virus.

There are now 5,223 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines with 335 deaths. A total of 295 people have already recovered from the infection.