BANGUED, Abra — Elementary school teachers had a meeting with Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte during the World Teachers’ Day celebration on Wednesday.
Duterte visited the Bangued North Elementary School here where she initiated a sit-down conversations with teachers to discuss matters concerning the challenges of the education sector.
In their discussions, Duterte updated the teachers of the recent regulations implemented by the department as standards in the conduct of in-person classes like the amendment of basic health protocols for COVID-19 which are stipulated under Department Order (D.O.) 39.
“It’s basically repeating kung ano yung nakalagay sa school calendar natin na mag-mask lang sa loob ng classrooms. Since meron ng Executive Order na optional ang mask sa labas, so pwedeng optional na din ang mask sa labas ng classrooms and walang mask kapag naglalaro sila ng sports,” Duterte said.
“[Pangalawa] physical distancing whenever possible. Pangatlo is handwashing. Basic naman talaga kasi ang handwashing hindi lang for COVID-19 but part of the basic hygiene na dapat nating ituro sa mga bata— proper handwashing and proper toothbrushing,” she added.
DO 39 was released last September 19.
Duterte also shared that the DepEd implements the recommendation of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for proper ventilation.
“With regard to the ventilation, ang sabi ng UNICEF is just to open the doors and windows para merong hangin na lalabas at papasok ng classrooms,” Duterte said.
DO 39 cited a separate study by the World Health Organization (WHO) which stated that “using a fan in an enclosed space can increase the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.”
“We continue to call on our regional directors na mag-link sa kanilang counterparts sa Department of Health para ma-counselling pa rin continuously yung mga nag-refuse na magpa-vaccine. Dahil hindi naman mandatory ang ating vaccination program hindi natin pwede mapilit ang ating mga teaching and non-teaching personnel na nag-refuse ng vaccines,” she told the teachers.
The teaching force, led by Head Teacher Rolando Belmes, also took the discussion an opportunity to seek help in securing the learning institution’s permanent location. They shared that they had transferred to another location but had to go back to the old school due to insufficient number of classrooms and a building that was damaged by the Magnitude 7 earthquake last July.
The teachers also told Duterte about their request of teaching supplies and equipment to upgrade their instruction platforms.