Palace: Half of Metro Manila public school classrooms to be used as isolation facilities

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace: Half of Metro Manila public school classrooms to be used as isolation facilities
Students of the Araullo High School in Ermita, Manila attend their first class during the opening of the new school year on June 3, 2019
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Half of the public school classrooms in Metro Manila will be used as isolation facilities while face-to-face classes are not yet allowed.

"The Palace confirms that 50% of public school classrooms in the National Capital Region will be used as temporary quarantine facilities as negotiated and agreed by both the Department of Education and the Department of Health," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement Wednesday.  

The resumption of face-to-face classes would resume in January if a vaccine or medicine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is developed, he added.

The school year will start on August 24 but blended learning approaches, including online classes, would be adopted. The education department has given assurances that the government is ready for the start of classes this month despite concerns that some areas do not have internet access.

The Philippines has logged 143,749 COVID-19 infections as of Wednesday, 72,348 of them active cases. Nearly half or 49% of the country's 11,500 isolation beds have been occupied as of Aug. 11, according to the health department.

Officials have vowed to intensify tracing, testing, treatment and isolation efforts to contain COVID-19 while reopening the economy. 

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