DepEd-NCR: Schools to provide PPEs, bar at-risk staff from premises
Taguig Sanitation Office sprays a disinfectant solution at bus terminals and schools to contain the possible spreading of COVID-19.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
DepEd-NCR: Schools to provide PPEs, bar at-risk staff from premises
( - September 2, 2020 - 5:11pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Metro Manila regional office of the Department of Education last Wednesday released a new set of health protocols for teachers and school personnel amid the pandemic.

"In lieu of the policies created by the [COVID-19 task force] to protect the health safety and well-being of the teachers and non-teaching personnel while continuing to delivery quality and accessible services in this time of pandemic, this Office shall adopt the following health and safety protocols for implementation and strict observance in [school division offices] and schools," DepEd-NCR said in a memorandum dated August 26.

Among the precautions introduced by the memo is the limitation of personnel authorized to physically report to offices and schools.

This new policy prevents those who are below the age of 21, over the age of 60, or are at risk of infection due to immunodeficiency, comorbidities, lingering illness, or pre-existing conditions, from physically reporting to work.

"Offices shall use a health declaration form, submitted to every installed triage area after the scanning of body temperature by the assigned guard on duty, upon entry," the memo further reads.

The regional office also emphasized the need for physical distancing of at least one to two meters along with the use of "online activities for meetings, training and conferences" in order to reduce physical gatherings.

According to the memo, personnel reporting to work will also be provided with personal protective equipment, disinfectant, hygiene, and sanitary resources while on duty.

"Offices and schools shall ensure the establishment of/set up refurbishment of their own clinics for health assessment, provision of appropriate interventions such as first aid or treatment, and proper management of symptoms exhibited by personnel or visitors," the office further stipulates.

"Clinics shall have clear and identified referral services, and follow-up status of clients to health facilities/ care services."

DepEd says no 'mass testing' for its employees

However, DepEd-NCR also made clear that there would be "no mass testing for COVID-19" for both teaching and non-teaching personnel, something teacher unionists and other stakeholders have repeatedly lobbied for.

"Testing protocols shall be based on the prioritization and recommendation of the Medical Officer which will depend on the signs and symptoms exhibited [by] individuals," the memo reads.

In addition to this, while DepEd employees who fall ill are enjoined to submit medical certificates upon their return to work, this must be done "with clear notation that COVID-19 testing of returning personnel shall not be a requirement for their return to office/school."

Teachers group welcomes DepEd-NCR's health measures but flags 'inadequacies'

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers on Wednesday welcomed the health measures introduced by DepEd-NCR, revealing in a statement that these protocols were issued after a virtual dialogue between ACT NCR Union and the regional office.

"The August 26 regional memo reflected significant preventive measures we’ve long called for—such as health screening by medical personnel, provision of PPEs, constant health monitoring, and the establishment or setting up of school clinics," the group's Secretary-General Raymond Basilio said.

He also urged the DepEd's Central Office to "keep up" and "issue an order addressing all the concerns of its employees in all DepEd schools and offices."

However, Basilio also flagged what he called "the regional memorandum's inadequacies such as the echoing of the Central Office’s flagrant refusal to conduct mass testing as well as the absence of sick leave benefits for teachers, hiring of school nurses, and full medical treatment subsidy."

ACT also urged Education Secretary Leonor Briones to give its members an opportunity to air their concerns with her, citing in specific the need to fight for sufficient resource allocation for the education sector.

"We believe the entire DepEd workforce deserves the same protection from the agency, hence we strongly urge Sec. Briones to face us so these may be discussed. After all, we’re the ones at the frontlines of education, and as major stakeholders, education officials are mandated to listen to and act on our concerns and demands,” Basilio said. — Bella Perez-Rubio

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 9, 2020 - 12:24pm

Follow this thread for updates on when classes will resume, and how those classes will be conducted.

Photo: Students wearing protective face masks have their temperatures taken while entering their college campus in Manila on January 31, 2020. AFP/Ted Aljibe

October 9, 2020 - 12:24pm

A group of teachers warns of class disruptions and drop-outs if the problems have not been resolved a week after classes were opened.

“The Department of Education should objectively assess and boldly address the critical problems experienced in the first week of school opening, rather than patting its own back for its imagined success. If the agency has any foresight, they should know that the school year they opened is hanging by a thread,” says Raymond Basilio, Alliance of Concerned Teachers secretary general.

October 6, 2020 - 10:54am

The resumption of classes on Monday was not a victory as claimed by Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan says in a statement.

"Our leaders look at the millions disenfranchised and call it victory. They look at the teachers contracting the virus and march forward. They look at the millions of dropouts and four students dead and call it a new venture," the group says.

"You send millions to school with an underfunded and exclusive education system that leaves millions out anyway. Opening classes does not mean that you have accomplished the slightest thing. We have raised our voices for six months, and you have sat on your hands watching dropouts rise. This is not victory over COVID-19, this is the defeat of common sense," the youth group adds.

October 5, 2020 - 8:04am

Education Secretary Leonor Briones officially declares school year 2020-2021 open in an address streamed through Facebook.

She says this ends the debate on whether classes should resume and whether the department is ready for the blended learning system required by health and safety protocol against the novel coronavirus.

October 4, 2020 - 12:49pm
As public school teachers get ready for the resumption of classes on Monday, Sen. Risa Hontiveros calls for government support for them, including the proper medical benefits in case they get sick.
She says teachers should also get an additional allowance for internet access and to print out learning materials as well loans for computers and laptops for them to implement distance education.
"The government should spend for these because this is part of the teachers' official obligations," she says in Filipino.
October 3, 2020 - 2:51pm

A group of teachers calls for accountability from the government for "delaying and still failing to ensure the delivery of safe, accessible, and quality education amid the pandemic."

“We’ve repeatedly heard Sec. Briones give thanks to the President over his claimed ‘support’ for blended learning. Yet, after two postponements, President Duterte still has nothing to show beyond lip service," says ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

"This government remains to be unresponsive to the people’s just and urgent demands in relation to school opening at the height of the health and socio-economic crisis. This is a huge disservice to the Filipino people and a violation of the youth’s fundamental right to education, with the President as the main culprit while Sec. Briones was complicit to these injustices,” he adds.

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