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DepEd: Mandatory vax policy not meant to discriminate against unvaxxed employees

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
DepEd: Mandatory vax policy not meant to discriminate against unvaxxed employees
Face-to-face classes at St. Mary Elementary School in Marikina City on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022 have been suspended after authorities raised the pandemic warning to Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila due to rising COVID-19 cases.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Thursday that its mandatory immunization policy for on-site workers, particularly those handling face-to-face classes, is not meant to discriminate against employees who choose to not get vaccinated.

The government requires personnel involved in face-to-face school activities to get vaccinated in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools. 

"The said policy does not and is not intended to unjustly discriminate against any DepEd employee who chooses not to be vaccinated," DepEd said in an emailed statement issued to reporters.

"A DepEd employee who is not vaccinated is treated fairly as he/she remains obliged to render work and receive compensation based on applicable alternative work arrangements, and his/her work is not terminated on the sole ground of being unvaccinated," it added. 

DepEd stressed that it respects the rights of people, while recognizing the State's duty to promote public health and general welfare. It assured the public that it will prioritize the best interests of learners as well as the welfare of its workers. 

Earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte gave the green light to DepEd's proposal to expand in-person classes in areas with low alert levels, subject to the support of local governments, parents and other stakeholders. 

The department earlier claimed that its pilot run of limited in-person classes from November 15 to December 22 has been "highly successful", after noting that there was no recorded confirmed case of COVID-19 across all participating schools during the implementation period.

Citing surveys conducted by the department, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said that there is a "high level of confidence to expand and continue face-to-face classes."

 

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