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Teachers infected with COVID-19? DepEd told to strictly implement health protocols

A group of teachers urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to strictly implement health protocols in light of reports that some teachers were infected with COVID-19.

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) over the weekend demanded that DepEd observe the health protocols to protect the health of teachers as it stressed that educators are not exempted from the threat of the virus.

The group said it received information that several teachers who were earlier required to report physically to their schools were eventually tested positive for COVID-19.

“In another report, at least two teachers have observed symptoms a day after reporting to their school and are now both suspected cases in their localities and were put in strict isolation,” said Emmalyn Policarpio, secretary-general of TDC.

 “This pandemic is a serious threat to life and safety of our teachers, thus, the DepEd should take this seriously as well,” she added.

The group again took swipe at the DepEd leadership for not exerting enough effort to minimize the exposure of teachers to the virus by supposedly ignoring reports that many field officials are requiring their teachers to report physically to their school despite an order that work-from-home schemes should be the default set-up.

 “After the Central Office has released an order, several memoranda and clarifications upon clarifications, some field officials still require their teachers to go to school and we never missed to remind the DepEd of this, in many different ways,” Policarpio added.  

The DepEd earlier clarified that it is adopting work-from-home schemes as the default set up. It previously wrote to the TDC to clarify the following:

1.   The work from home (WFH) set-up is the default scheme which will be used especially for teachers whose main task is to facilitate classroom learning, even in areas considered as low-risk;

2.   The physical or on-site reporting is non-mandatory and shall be done in consultation with the personnel involved;

3.   Only those personnel with tasks or functions that cannot be rendered remotely or those in exceptional cases can be considered for physical reporting;

4.   The concerned offices that require physical reporting should provide for transportation services for their employees; and

5.   Physical reporting shall be prohibited for schools that were used as quarantine or isolation facilities.

 “Once and for all, the DepEd Central Office should call the attention of the field officials who require their teachers to report physically, give them a stern warning or take administrative actions against them,” Policarpio said.

The TDC said it has submitted to DepEd a list of schools division offices with reported cases of schools that require physical reporting for their validation.

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