Metro Manila cities gear up for school opening amid COVID-19 pandemic

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2022 12:48 PM

Volunteer parents and teachers clean up classrooms inside the Aurora A. Quezon Elementary School in Manila on Aug. 2, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Volunteer parents and teachers clean up classrooms inside the Aurora A. Quezon Elementary School in Manila on Aug. 2, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The local governments of Manila and San Juan will implement safety measures to ensure students are protected against COVID-19 when schools reopen next week.

In Manila, 37 out of 107 schools can already conduct full face-to-face classes, its mayor said Friday.

Minimum health protocols such as wearing of masks and frequent hand washing will be enforced. Satellite vaccination sites will also be set up in schools.

"We will ask teachers if they have ample time to... ask students if they are vaccinated," Mayor Honey Lacuna told ANC's "Headstart". 

"It's also for us to encourage students na sabihin ka sa kanilang parents, 'Ipa-vaccinate niyo na ako.' Kadalasan nakita namin mas worried ang parents compare sa kids," she added. 

(It's also for us to encourage students to tell their parents to have them vaccinated. We observed parents are often more worried compared to their kids.) 

Contact exercises during physical education classes will also continue.

"Hindi ho natin ipinagbabawal sa matatanda. Hindi rin natin puwede ipagbawal sa mga bata," Lacuna said.

(We are not prohibiting it for adults, so we cannot ban it for children.) 

The mayor urged parents to refrain from waiting outside campuses to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

In San Juan, all public schools will hold full face-to-face classes on Aug. 22. Private schools, meanwhile, can implement hybrid learning only until the end of October.

"We are expecting about 13,000 public school students and about 15,000 private school students here in San Juan and we are ready," Mayor Francis Zamora also told "Headstart".

Physical distancing is recommended but not required in schools.

"Under Alert Level 1, hindi na kasi required ang social distancing. Ang guidelines sa DepEd (Department of Education) whenever possible merong social distancing," Zamora said.

(Under Alert Level 1, social distancing is not required. According to the guidelines of DepEd, there should be social distancing whenever possible.) 

The targeted total class size in kindergarten is between 25 and 30; about 37 in grade school; and 45 in high school.

Schools will no longer use plastic barriers, Zamora said. Students are also advised to refrain from chatting with friends during lunch or recess.

The local government will set up inoculation sites in schools in the first 2 weeks to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates among school-aged children.

"We will encourage our children and parents to get vaccinated or boosted," Zamora said.