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Schools in pilot return to classroom learning to get vaccine priority — DepEd

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
Schools in pilot return to classroom learning to get vaccine priority â DepEd
Staff of Dagat Dagatan Elementary School in Navotas City prepare the classroom and other materials needed on Sept. 16, 2021 once the government allows the resumption of face-to-face classes.
The STAR / Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — Teachers and school personnel who will join the limited resumption of face-to-face classes would be prioritized to get COVID-19 vaccines, an education official has said. 

While the Department of Education has secured President Rodrigo Duterte's approval for a pilot run, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said teachers would not be required to be vaccinated. 

But over ONE News' "The Chiefs" on Tuesday night, DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the department has an arrangement with the health department and the National Vaccination Operations Center for "these pilot schools will be given priority in allocation."

Education officials are still finalizing guidelines for the pilot run for in-classroom learning.

What's clear so far is that a hundred public schools in "low risk" areas will be included in the test run that would eventually include 20 private schools. 

Teachers are a priority for jabs

Malaluan estimated that 30% of the entire teaching force of over 788,000 have now been inoculated for COVID-19. 

Teachers are in the priority list for vaccinations, but the DepEd chief of staff acknowldged that the numbers per region may vary due to the government's "geographic prioritization."

"As you know, Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Visayas and probably Western Visayas are the ones with high proportion," he added.

Malaluan said the vaccination rate in schools would also be part of DepEd's safety assessment.

He added: "We will prioritize both teaching and non-teaching personnel that have been vaccinated in the pilot."

On Tuesday, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations said vaccination of teachers and students is among parents' concerns on resuming face-to-face learning. 

While teachers and staff are qualified to get the jabs, the government still has not opened inoculation to age groups below 18.

COVID-19 VACCINES

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

DISTANCE LEARNING

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