DepEd probes ‘graduation’ mask-sharing in Camarines Norte

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2020 10:22 AM | Updated as of Jun 17 2020 01:12 PM

MANILA — The Department of Education is investigating an incident where students from a public elementary school in Daet, Camarines Norte apparently shared a single face mask during a graduation pictorial.

The DepEd said its office in the Bicol region has started a fact-finding investigation and asked for a written explanation from the person involved in the incident, which was described as “a breach of minimum health standards and social distancing protocols.”

“We take this matter seriously and will have a firm and rectifying action to prevent further breach in the future,” the DepEd said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“The local DepEd COVID-19 Task Force will actively monitor the health of the learners concerned through the regional office,” the agency added.

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Several students from a school in Camarines Norte's Daet town were caught on video last week sharing a face mask while having their photos taken in what seemed like a graduation ceremony.

The video was uploaded on social media and caught the attention of concerned netizens.

The education department reiterated that graduation and moving-up rites requiring face-to-face interaction are postponed until further notice.

Schools and community learning centers planning to hold virtual rites and other similar activities must first seek the approval of the school division superintendents, the DepEd said.

Activities that require face-to-face interaction and are allowed under the guidelines of the Department of Health and Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases must strictly comply with health and safety protocols, according to the agency.

Traditional graduation rites, seen as a form of mass gathering, have been postponed to avoid exposing students, parents and school personnel to the risk of contracting the new coronavirus disease.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines recorded 26,781 confirmed cases of the respiratory disease, where 6,552 have recovered while 1,103 have died.