Schools in pilot face-to-face classes told: Plan for COVID-19 contingency

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 07 2021 01:56 PM | Updated as of Oct 07 2021 05:38 PM

Video courtesy of PTV

MANILA — Schools participating in the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes are required to have a contingency plan in case any student or personnel tests positive for COVID-19.

"Mayroon naman tayo mekanismo, kaya nga ang plano natin, lahat ng schools, nire-require natin na gumawa ng contingency plan, step-by-step, kung ano gagawin nila kung magkaroon ng ganoong klaseng danger," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said Thursday in a Palace briefing.

(We have mechanisms, that's why our plan is all schools are required to have a contingency plan which details step-by-step what they will do in case there is that kind of danger.)

Briones gave the assurance as she sought to ease the fears of parents whose children may be joining the pilot test as well as school personnel.

The limited classroom sessions, which will complement distance learning modalities, are scheduled to start on November 15.

So far, only 59 schools have passed the risk assessment of the Department of Health (DOH), which is partnering with DepEd for the pilot implementation.

Under the joint memorandum circular between DepEd and DOH, participating schools are required to have a COVID-19 hotline or help desk that connects them with hospitals, testing facilities and local government units.

The schools are also asked to "prepare a contingency plan for closing and reopening the school in case of COVID-19 resurgence," according to the circular.

Schools will also coordinate with the local task force against COVID-19 in declaring lockdowns in case of a possible COVID-19 infection.

Briones reiterated in the briefing that participation in the pilot test was voluntary and students need to get consent from their parents.

Asked if teachers participating in the pilot test will receive hazard pay, Briones explained that there is already a "regular hazard pay" given to teachers assigned in remote areas.

She added that there is also a P500 COVID-19 hazard pay given to educators working in areas under enhanced community quarantine.

"Hindi naman natin papabayaan ang teacher," Briones said.

(We won't neglect our teacher.)

Under the guidelines, only teachers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can participate in the implementation.