DepEd's Briones: Threat of COVID-19 ‘lowest’ in schools


Posted at Dec 16 2020 08:20 PM

DepEd's Briones: Threat of COVID-19 ‘lowest’ in schools 1
Students wearing face masks during class. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA – There is a lower chance of getting COVID-19 in schools than at homes, the Education Secretary Leonor Briones said Wednesday as the department plans to hold a dry run of face-to-face classes next month.

“Sinasabi na lahat ng pag-aaral, nagpapakita na ang pinaka-lowest threat ay sa schools,” Briones said at the Laging Handa public briefing.

(All studies show that the threat of COVID-19 is lowest in schools.)

“Ang malaking posibilidad ay sa homes, kasi that is where they spend most of their time and other places,” she added.

(There’s a huge possibility that they could get the virus in their homes because that’s is where they spend most of their time and other places.)

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That’s why parents of students participating in the dry run will be playing an important role in looking after their children to avoid infections, Briones said.

“Mahalaga ang papel ng mga parents dahil uuwi naman iyong mga bata sa school at wala naman tayong control kung ano ang sitwasyon sa loob ng mga bahay ng mga bata. Kaya kailangan talaga ang cooperation at saka ang consent ng parents,” she said.

(Parents have an important role because children will go home from schools and we have no control of the situation inside the children’s homes. That’s why we need the cooperation and consent of the parents.)

Experts have warned that children may become “silent spreaders” of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Malacañang announced that President Rodrigo Duterte approved the DepEd’s recommendation to conduct a dry run for face-to-face or in-person classes in select schools in areas with low risk of COVID-19 transmission in January.

The DepEd has stressed the student’s participation in the dry run is voluntary and would require a written consent from parents or guardians.

Schools will also observe health standards during the dry run to avoid exposing students and teachers to the risk of COVID-19.

A total of 1,114 schools have been nominated to take part in the dry run but the number of participating schools will be lower, according to the DepEd.

Schools are currently implementing distance learning, where students study from their homes through printed or digital modules, online classes, television and radio.

The United Nations Children's Fund, citing studies, said schools are not the main drivers of coronavirus infections.

“Evidence shows that schools are not the main drivers of this pandemic. Yet, we are seeing an alarming trend whereby governments are once again closing down schools as a first recourse rather than a last resort,” said UNICEF Global Chief of Education Robert Jenkins.

“In some cases, this (closure) is being done nationwide, rather than community by community, and children are continuing to suffer the devastating impacts on their learning, mental and physical well-being and safety,” he added.