The Senate approved Senate Bill 1541 on Monday, June 1, on its third and final reading.
SB 1541 seeks to amend Republic Act 7797, also known as an Act to Lengthen the School Calendar from Two Hundred (200) Days to Not More Than Two Hundred Twenty (220) Class Days, in order to authorize President Rodrigo Duterte to move the opening of classes beyond August.
Under the proposed law, the President, upon the recommendation of the Education Secretary, may set a different date for the start of the school year during a state of emergency or state of calamity.
SB 1541 also states that the deferred school opening shall apply to all basic education school, including foreign or international learning institutions.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, one of the authors of SB 1541, said that the bill will empower President Duterte to move the start of School Year 2020-2021 to September or a later date.
Gatchalian mentioned that public health authorities could recommend postponing the resumption of classes in order to contain the spread of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
“Natutuwa ako at nakapasa na sa Senado ang panukalang batas na ito. Mahalaga ang pagpasok sa eskuwelahan ng mga bata, pero higit na mahalaga ang kanilang kaligtasan at kalusugan,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture.
“Kaya bigyan natin ng pagpapasya ang Pangulo ng Pilipinas at ang Kalihim ng Edukasyon upang baguhin ang petsa ng pasukan sa panahon ng pandemya habang walang kasiguraduhan sa kaligtasan at kalusugan ng kabataang Pilipino,” the senator added.