MANILA — It is up to the Department of Education to decide whether to allow unvaccinated teachers to attend in-person classes next week, according to the Department of Health.
In a press briefing Tuesday, health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire stressed that DepEd has authority over schools.
"The DepEd also has that authority who will they be designating or assigning to take care of our children," she said.
There is also no protocol which states that unvaccinated school personnel shall be turned away, Vergeire said.
"Ang sa atin lang, we highly encourage all of those who are going to interact with children to be vaccinated for better protection ng ating mga kabataan," she added.
The health chief made the remark after DepEd announced that unvaccinated teachers would still be allowed to attend face-to-face classes.
At a press conference, Education Undersecretary Atty. Revsee Escobedo said some 37,000 teachers had not gotten the jab.
"Ngayon po may ganitong polisiya, we leave it to the DepEd to ensure that even though they are going to deploy these unvacccinated teachers, they have to ensure that all of the safety protocols are in place so that we can be able to better protect our children," Vergeire said.
The new school year is set to start on Aug. 22, with academic institutions allowed to implement distance or blended learning until Oct. 31.
Starting Nov. 2, all schools will be required to shift to in-person classes.
As of Tuesday, some 21.2 million learners have enrolled in elementary and secondary schools, according to Department of Education data.
In the press briefing, Vergeire announced that the country has detected over 1,000 additional cases of highly transmissible omicron subvariants BA.5 and BA.4. Three patients with the said variants died.
In the past week, the Philippines tallied 28,008 fresh coronavirus infections. From Aug. 1 to 7, the country recorded an average of 4,001 infections per day, up 3 percent compared to the previous week.