DepEd to revise H1N1 class suspension policy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2009 09:42 PM | Updated as of Jun 22 2009 03:40 AM

MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday said it is ironing out a new set of guidelines schools will follow in response to influenza A (H1N1), as two more schools in Metro Manila confirmed Wednesday that some of their students tested positive for influenza A (H1N1).

DepEd public information officer Kenneth Tirado said that the department, in cooperation with the DOH, is currently ironing out a new protocol schools will follow should they have a confirmed student with A (H1N1).

The new guidelines, Tirado said, will address the issue of class suspensions.

At present, guidelines state that schools should suspend classes for ten days if there is a confirmed A (H1N1) case. The new rules being formulated will clarify if the school should continue class suspensions as new cases arise.

The DepEd also clarified that private schools have autonomy on operational procedures.

New cases in Domincan College, Ateneo, UPD

This comes after Domincan College (DC) in San Juan, the University of the Philippines in Diliman, and Ateneo de Manila University's (ADMU) college unit in Quezon City confirmed some of their students tested positive for the virus.

Ma. Assunta Cuyegkeng, Vice President for the Loyola Schools of the ADMU, announced in a memorandum that the school has four confirmed cases of A (H1N1).

"Three of them have not attended any of their classes, following LS guidelines, while one student, who neither travelled abroad or had exposure to a confirmed H1N1 case, attended class for a day before learning of the infection," the memorandum stated.

"All their known contacts have been immediately informed, directed to go on self-quarantine, and asked to observe possible development of symptoms," it said.

However, the school won't suspend classes, upon agreement with the Department of Health (DOH).

"We have agreed that classes will not be suspended, considering that these cases have been relatively contained," the statement read.

This brings the number of confirmed cases in the said university to seven. Three of the cases came from the Ateneo High School.

Meanwhile, the Domincan College suspended classes Wednesday due to an unconfirmed number of A (H1N1) cases.

Tirado, who has a child studying in the said school, confirmed the suspension of classes.

School administrators, however, could not be reached for details as of posting time.

The University of the Philippines in Diliman (UPD), Quezon City has also confirmed its first case Wednesday.

Elizabeth Enriquez, UPD Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, confirmed that a student athlete tested positive for the virus.

Like ADMU, UPD wont be suspending classes.

Classes in Miriam go on; Lagro ES inspected

In Miriam College High School (MCHS), meanwhile, classes continued Wednesday despite the confirmation of the school that three of its students have influenza A (H1N1).

School administrators said they have conducted selective quarantine, meaning only those sections where the students with the flu attended are quarantined for ten days.

The school said continuing classes would be better instead of having students become exposed to other A (H1N1) sources if classes were suspended.

Students are also required to carry a "hygiene kit" containing alcohol, hand sanitizers, and masks.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said they will investigate the cases in MCHS.

Duque said that he also has a daughter studying in the said school, but he has not yet talked to her.

He said the DOH is still recommending that schools follow the response levels for A (H1N1).

In Lagro Elementary School, where two cases have been confirmed Tuesday and classes were suspended, barangay health officials have inspected the campus.

However, the school is yet to be cleaned as of Wednesday. With reports from Jeff Canoy, Ina Reformina, and Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News