MANILA — The Department of Education has said its personnel, including teachers, are not required to physically report to offices as it sought to allay fears that new work arrangements may expose education workers to the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The Teachers' Dignity Coalition earlier called on the DepEd to extend its work-from-home setup as it feared the new alternative work arrangements would require teachers to physically report to offices.
"It is reiterated... that physical reporting to the workplace [or] onsite is not mandatory, and shall be done in consultation with the personnel," Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said in a memorandum made public on Thursday.
"Physical reporting to the workplace [or] onsite shall be kept at the minimum and shall be considered only when the tasks and functions cannot be rendered through alternative strategies and remote modalities," Mateo said.
Mateo also noted that waivers issued to DepEd personnel who are asked to physically report to offices "produce no legal effect."
The education official made the remark after the DepEd Central Office received reports that some of its offices and schools required teaching and non-teaching personnel to sign a waiver, saying they acknowledge "the possible risk of exposure to COVID-19 upon return to the workplace."
Since Monday, DepEd personnel have been following new work arrangements set by undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and regional directors .
The work schemes consider the health and safety conditions, community quarantine classification, and travel limitations where the DepEd office or school is located.