THE Department of Education (DepEd)-Davao Region denied reports that wearing of uniform will be mandatory in the blended learning they will be implementing this school year 2020-2021, especially for the online mode of learning.

DepEd-Davao Spokesperson Jenielito Atillo made the clarification after a local media outlet earlier reported that the agency had allegedly ordered it.

"Ang position gyud sa DepEd is that sa panahon sa pandemic, wala ta nag require sa mga learners to wear uniform. Kung gusto lang sila magsuot. (DepEd had not required our students to wear uniforms during this time of pandemic. We will only make it optional). We encourage them to wear their uniform samtang gaklase (during classes), just to give them a semblance of their schooling," Atillo told SunStar Davao in a phone interview on Tuesday, August 11.

DepEd national also released an official statement stating they are not requiring learners to wear school uniforms in any distance learning approaches.

DepEd specifically stated that Under DepEd Order 065, series of 2010, public schools do not require students to wear uniforms to avoid incurring additional cost to the families.

"With face-to-face classes prohibited, learners are welcome to wear their most comfortable and appropriate clothes while learning at the safe confines of their homes," DepEd said.

Atillo said ever since DepEd has not required students from public school to wear uniforms, but parents are insisting that schools should impose such a policy for the safety of their children and the entire school community.

Private schools, however, can impose their own uniform policy in their respective modalities, he said.

Recently, DepEd-Davao conducted a series of dry runs on online distancing learning beginning August 3 to some public schools in the region. Teachers and selected students conducted an online class and all participating students were in complete uniform.

Based on their observation, students and teachers in their uniform gave a "good atmosphere" for the online learning, since physical classroom setup is still being discouraged due to the current coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

"Makita nimo nga ang mga bata, naa gyu'y sense nga nag-eskwela sila tungod naka-uniform sila (It is observed that students can feel they are still in a classroom setting because they are in their uniforms)," Atillo said.

While DepEd does not require them to wear uniforms, online students are encouraged to wear "decent" and "appropriate" attire during class.

"You will be seen by your classmates online. That is why students should wear decent clothes. Ayaw pud nang nakapambalay or kanang pangkatulog [attire]. (Please don't wear house clothes or slumber attire.) It's not very good to look at," Atillo said.

Teachers, however, are required to wear their uniform.

Meanwhile, Atillo said the entire region is all set for the opening of classes despite implementing a new teaching modality.

He said they are still trying to resolve other issues, such as the internet connectivity and the lack of devices or gadgets for it.

Students who cannot manage online learning can use other modes of learning such as modular, radio or TV-based modality.

Atillo said despite issues, parents can be assured that its implementation will be "smoothly done."

Meanwhile, parents can still enroll their children until September 1 as Education Secretary Leonor Briones ordered the acceptance of late enrollees.