School year of colleges and universities cut short by COVID-19 crisis

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — The Commission on Higher Education has allowed universities and colleges to end their school year early due to the health crisis caused by highly-infectious coronavirus disease.

Higher education institutions that are using the old school calendar (June to May) are allowed to finish out their “current semester, trimester or equivalent academic period” by April 30.

Schools recognized by CHED, regardless of their accreditation status, could determine the extent of adjustments, but they must inform the commission of their plans, the advisory stated.

The commission said the education institutions could adopt “flexible learning options that reflect the best assessment of their students’ outcomes.”

This is because campuses will also remain closed throughout the period of the extended quarantine, which is up to 11:59 pm of April 30.

CHED is also discouraging the learning institutions from holding in-person graduation ceremonies, “given the continuing need for social distancing and restrictions on mass gathering.”

Meanwhile, universities and colleges that have adopted the new academic year (August-July) are authorized to extend their semester for a month after the government lifts the Luzon-wide quarantine, CHED said.

Schools using the August-July school year may also modify or reduce program requirements, CHED added.

The COVID-19 outbreak interrupted the academic year of college and university students in schools in Luzon, which have been shuttered since a month ago.

Some of the schools have transitioned to online learning, but it has been challenging for students without access to internet.