MANILA - Education Sec. Leonor Briones on Tuesday said schools are "discouraged" from suspending classes over fears that students may contract the novel coronavirus in learning facilities.
The Department of Health (DOH) recommended the decision to avoid suspending classes amid the virus outbreak, Briones told senators during a Senate inquiry.
"We have discouraged them from suspending classes because it will not prevent our learners from going to crowded places," Briones said.
Students who are already overseas before the ban are advised "to stay put" for the meantime and "comply" with health protocols once they return to the Philippines, she said.
The DOH has yet to recommend suspending graduation ceremonies either, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said.
"That is too far off to make any recommendations to suspend or postpone... Hindi pa yan kasama," he said.
Students, especially those studying in congested classrooms, should be given face masks and other protective gear, Senator Imee Marcos said.
"We have taken no precaution to cover these children," she said.
The communicable virus, which originated from Wuhan, China, has killed some nearly 400 people and infected about 20,000 others worldwide.
As of Tuesday afternoon, health officials in the Philippines are monitoring at least 105 suspected carriers of the disease. The Philippines has banned travel to and from China earlier this week, after it registered the first novel coronavirus-related death outside China.