THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday said it would move the opening of classes this year to August from June as the country battles a novel coronavirus pandemic.

Classes for school year 2020 to 2021 will start on Aug. 24 and end on April 30 next year, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said at a virtual news briefing.

Not all teachers and students will physically report to schools once classes start due to lockdowns enforced in some areas of the country to contain the coronavirus disease 2019, she said.

The Education chief said various approaches will be used to teach students including technology-based learning through computers and mobile phones, media such as television and radio, and other offline methods.

DepEd field units would decide which modes are the most appropriate, Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said at the same briefing.

Students will be made to answer a poll during enrolment about their preferred learning mode and which gadgets they own for technology-based learning, he said.

Teachers report for work starting June to prepare lessons for the school year, Ms. Briones said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte locked down the entire Luzon island on March 17, suspending work, classes and public transportation to contain the outbreak.

People should stay home except to buy food and other basic goods, he said. The Mr. Mr. Duterte relaxed the lockdown for some areas of the island starting May 1 and extended the so-called enhanced community quarantine for Metro Manila, some cities and provinces until May 15. — Gillian M. Cortez