THE City Government of Davao thumbed down requests of schools and universities to conduct face-to-face graduation rites in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio on Monday, April 19, that the traditional graduation ceremonies will violate the mandatory physical distancing, as these draw crowds.
"Ang isa sa mga pillar sa prevention sa (One of our pillars in the prevention of) Covid-19 is to prevent mass gathering and graduation will really put so many people together in one place," she said.
Duterte-Carpio did not mention the name of schools that made the request to the City.
The local government has suspended the face-to-face classes, and then eventually banned it, including physical graduation rites, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Section 19 of Executive Order 12-B states that "face-to-face or in-person classes shall be prohibited from kindergarten to post-graduate level until a new order shall be issued to lift the ban.”
It added, "Limited face-to-face or in-person attendance for Higher Educational Institutions and Post-Graduate courses is allowed for the purposes of examinations and laboratory learning provided that the distancing of not less than one meter between individuals is strictly observed. Gathering for eating, meeting or group practice is strictly prohibited."
Department of Education (DepEd)-Davao Region spokesperson Jenielito Atillo told SunStar Davao in a phone interview that graduation ceremonies within school premises or convention centers are still prohibited as of now while the country is still under state of pandemic.
Atillo said the DepEd central office is still waiting for the approval of face-to-face graduation from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and from President Rodrigo Duterte.
“As of now, we don’t have the go signal to gather people,” the DepEd official said.
Atillo also said they have also received requests from different schools, especially from private ones.
Before a school could conduct its graduation rites, he said the management should submit its plan to DepEd for deliberation and approval.
Schools can devise their own mechanism in the distribution of diploma and credentials, he said, as long as minimum health protocols will still be in place.
The DepEd official also said that sports and other extracurricular activities within school premises are still prohibited.
Meanwhile, in Joint Memorandum Circular 2021-001 by the Commission on Higher Education and Department of Health, higher educational institutions (HEIs) are authorized to reopen their campuses but they are not allowed to conduct "in person and group-based extracurricular activities" such as sports events, musical events, competitions, and including in-person graduation ceremonies.
Currently, most schools are conducting graduation virtually.