DepEd reiterates use of non-online modes of learning after a student died by suicide

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 19) — Students are not required to buy gadgets or attend online classes as the country shifts to a "blended" form of learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Education reiterated this reminder on Friday after a student took his own life in Barangay Fidel Surtida in Santo Domingo, Albay earlier this week.

The mother of the incoming Grade 9 student said her 19-year-old son became distressed upon knowing he was already enrolled for the incoming school year, but worried about the expenses for the shift to online learning.

DepEd condoled with the family.

It said that online learning is only one of the options as schools are not allowed to conduct face-to-face classes. It added the mode of learning will depend on the resources available to the students.

"We are not blind to the reality that not every learner has the same resources. We are continuously setting up policies, plans, and processes that are inclusive and responsive to the realities to ensure no learner will be left behind during this crisis and beyond," it said in a statement.

It added, "Preparations are underway to implement home-based learning through any or a blending of TV, radio, online, and printed modules. These modes will be offered accordingly depending on the capacity of our learners’ households."

Classes are slated to begin on August 24 and expected to end in April 2021.

Aside from a mix of online and printed modules, DepEd also plans to use government radio and TV station to deliver distance learning to rural areas.

Face-to-face classes are postponed until a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available following President Rodrigo Duterte's order. But his spokesperson, Harry Roque, said they will re-suggest reopening physical classes in areas with no coronavirus cases.