Due to the fatal bus accident that killed 15 people and injured 40 students of BestLink College of the Philippines, the Department of Education (DepEd) has ordered a stop to field trips on both public elementary and high schools.

According to DepEd, the moratorium would be effective until the opening of classes in June to give time for the agency to review existing policies and coordinate the implementing details nationwide.

The department said the review ‘will cover alignment of field trips to learning outcomes, security and safety, and responsibilities and accountabilities’ for the schools, parents, and government agencies.

The Commission on Higher Education has earlier suspended all field trips for public and private colleges and universities but for DepEd’s order, only public elementary and high schools would be covered.

DepEd excluded private schools due to their direct responsibilities in the conduct of their activities.

“Should the committee see the need and propriety to extend the moratorium to private schools, DepEd will do so at the proper time,”

For public schools which already secured permits and have existing contracts for field trips may still be able to do so granted that existing guidelines especially on safety are strictly followed. DepEd also reiterated that participating in field trip or educational tours is not mandatory.

School officials are also reminded to verify the proper registration and road worthiness of the vehicles to be used and ensure that the drivers are knowledgeable and have proper frame of mind while on the road.

Likewise, the places that they visit must be educational, like cultural and historical sites, or science exhibits in museums. Mall trips and noontime shows are discouraged.