MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) said Monday that local governments could only use schools as quarantine facilities for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases until the end of June to make way for preparations for the coming school year.
Schools still need to undergo disinfection in case their buildings and facilities will be used when classes start in August, said Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo.
"As much as possible, before the end of the month or middle of the month, hindi na natin pahihintulutan sila kasi siyempre kailangan nating iprepara 'yong ating mga paaralan," Mateo said in a virtual press briefing.
(As much as possible, before the end of the month or middle of the month, we will no longer allow the use of schools as quarantine facilities because we also need to prepare our schools.)
School heads are allowed to ask some teachers to participate in the disinfection of schools as long as minimum health standards are observed, added Mateo.
"Baka i-allow natin 'yong iba pero hindi full force," he said.
(We may allow others but it won't be full force.)
Non-government organizations have also expressed interest in helping the DepEd disinfect schools, Mateo said.
Schools are set to implement various alternatives to face-to-face classes, which have been discouraged to avoid exposing students, teachers and parents to the risk of contracting the new coronavirus.
Still, some schools have been readying their facilities in case face-to-face classes would be allowed, depending on the health situation in their locality.
A school in Sorsogon, for instance, has reduced class sizes to only 20 learners.
The DepEd also said it would release health standards which schools should follow while the country continued to deal with the pandemic.
As of Sunday, the Philippines registered a total of 18,086 confirmed COVID-19 cases. — With a report from Jose Carretero, ABS-CBN News