Graduation Rites Suspended In Bacolod City Schools


Mayor Evelio Leonardia has issued an executive order (EO) suspending the graduation and moving-up ceremonies in all levels of public and private schools here until further notice due to the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“It is imperative that the city government implements urgent and critical measures to prevent the spread of the disease,” the mayor said in EO No. 16-2020 released on Thursday.

Leonardia cited Resolution No. 282 -2020 approved by the City Council on Wednesday, declaring a local state of health emergency, after President Rodrigo Duterte made a similar declaration all over the country, and after the World Health Organization also declared the disease as public health emergency of international concern.

The mayor also said the Department of Health strongly urges the public to avoid attending, participating in, and organizing events that draw a huge number of attendees.

Leonardia said he arrived at the decision to suspend the graduation and moving-up ceremonies after three consecutive emergency meetings with city, school, and health officials on Wednesday.

In a press conference with Leonardia on Thursday afternoon, City Schools Division Superintendent Gladys Amylaine Sales welcomed the mayor’s decision.

“I’d like to thank the mayor for promptly deciding on the issuance of the EO for the suspension of graduation and end of school year rites. This decision is consistent also with that of the good (Education) Secretary Leonor Briones,” she said.

Sales, however, said public schools under the Department of Education (DepEd) have not suspended classes since they are almost done with all the learning competencies for the school year.

“That’s why we decided to end face-to-face classroom interaction by March 20. After that, all our learners will be given home self-help activities. The five days from March 22 to 27 are non-contact days, but are still counted as part of the school days,” she said.

Sales added Briones has suggested that the end of school year rites can still be held between April 13 and 17 “when everything will be okay”.

Ryan Mark Molina, president of Negros Occidental Private Schools Sports, Cultural and Educational Association, said private schools also support the decision of the mayor in the suspension of the graduation and moving-up ceremonies.

He added that there are schools that can end their classes by March 27, but those which started the school year at a later date can decide on their own on how to adjust their school days. (Nanette Guadalquiver ndb via pna)

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