THE DEPARTMENT of Education (DepEd) has reactivated the ban on national and regional activities following the confirmation of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country. In a memorandum released Monday, the 5th in a series of COVID-19-related directives, DepEd expanded the suspension order to all inter-school events in cities and towns with “at least one local transmission as confirmed by the DoH (Department of Health).” As of March 9, the cities of Taguig, San Juan, Marikina, and Quezon City in Metro Manila are covered by this provision. San Juan and several other local governments in the capital have already ordered a suspension of classes in both public and private schools. “All division and district activities in all other cities and municipalities are highly discouraged,” states DepEd Memorandum No. 34, s. 202 signed by Education Secretary Leonor M. Briones on March 9. All off-campus activities such as field trips are included in the ban. However, the ongoing National Schools Press Conference and the National Festival of Talents have been exempted and will be carried out as scheduled. Activities within a school “may proceed, provided that all personnel and learners exhibiting respiratory infections must not attend,” states the order.