by Winona Jane Agir | March 18, 2022
Since the pandemic started, face-to-face graduation has been replaced with virtual graduation. Due to the Department of Education (DepEd) commitment to protecting the health and safety of students, teachers, staff, parents, face-to-face graduation and moving up ceremonies for the school year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 were mostly held virtually. For two years, the pandemic stole one of the most memorable experiences from graduating students.
Because of the increasing number of cases during that time, face-to-face graduation became impossible, and it became just a dream for the graduating students. The news of having virtual graduation earned different reactions from students and even parents. It is understandable that some want to have their graduation in a face-to-face situation. Who does not want to see themselves wearing their togas? Who does not want to see their child graduating in a face-to-face situation? It is everyone’s dream to get a degree and a parent’s pride to see their child graduating, but safety was the priority during that time. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the students’ chance to be on stage, hear their name called with their hard-earned degree, wear a toga, and see their family applauding for them became just a dream.
On a brighter note, because of the improvement of the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines, there is hope that the schools and universities may be able to have face-to-face graduation this year. DepEd is optimistic about it, and Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that risk assessments in schools and regions have been improving, and the chances of having face-to-face graduation increases.
With this, I empathize with the students’ wish to experience face-to-face graduation as I have seen the news on having political rallies. If political rallies are allowed, limited face-to-face graduation should also be considered. I hope that the government will take this into consideration and come up with the best decision for the graduating students this year. I believe that if this happens, the schools will also make plans on how to conduct face-to-face graduation without risking the health and welfare of the students, parents, teachers, staff, and everyone who will be attending the ceremony. They will also do their best to strictly observe to minimum health standards such as the proper wearing of face masks and following social distancing within their school premises.
To sum it up, I join the students’ call to consider face-to-face classes this school year if the pandemic situation continues to improve.