PUBLIC and private schools in Central Visayas will have the discretion to decide whether they want to organize Christmas parties for their students or not.

Department of Education (DepEd) 7 director Salustiano Jimenez issued the statement on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.

Jimenez said as stated in DepEd Order 52, Christmas parties in both public and private schools must be voluntary.

Jimenez also reminded school administrators that if they opt to hold Christmas parties for their students, they should observe health protocols, such as proper distancing, handwashing, and sanitation, among others.

Earlier, DepEd Central Office in Manila reiterated that no involuntary solicitation should be conducted for organizing school Christmas parties as it released a new order setting guidelines for the sector’s celebration and observance of the coming holiday season.

It also said that no learner should be excluded from joining a school’s Christmas celebration, even if he fails to give his voluntary contribution or has not prepared a gift.

Additionally, DepEd said Christmas parties, particularly in public schools, should not disrupt the lesson plans for students.

It also said that provisions for departmental services should not be used for any holiday activities.

The school division offices may also provide more guidelines according to local traditions.

For private schools and other learning centers, the agency said they might also adopt their own regulations with DepEd’s department order as a guideline.

The agency reminded that celebrations, particularly in public schools and DepEd offices, must be as simple as possible.

“Celebrations in public schools and DepEd central and field offices should be simple yet meaningful, keeping in mind the true spirit of the season and the austerity called for by the difficult economic times,” a part of the order stated.