By Nino Luces
LEGAZPI CITY – Albay second district Representative Joey Salceda is seeking clarification from the Department of Education (DepEd) on its policy to prevent and control the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV), especially in schools.
He said, while risk of transmission was still high, why not suspend classes, instead of cancelling small events such as those related to sports like the “Palarong Bicol”.
Last Thursday, DepEd Bicol announced that the “Palarong Bicol” was moved indefinitely as a mitigating measure to control spread of nCoV.
According to DepEd, this was to give more time for the agency to prepare measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
“So what’s the logic? Bicol Palaro still on March as originally scheduled. So for now to contain the spread, why don’t you cancel classes instead – where human contact is more persistent, more frequent, more intense inside campuses and inside classes,” Salceda said.
On February 4, Education Secretary Leonor Briones issued DepEd memorandum 15 as policy directives for the department’s Task Force nCoV to contain the spread of the virus.
“Since we are behind the curve in contact tracing at 17% and we have not restrained domestic travel, then the biggest contact point with the most persistent, the most intense and the most frequent is the classroom with 26 milliom learners, bigger than the malls, the public markets, churches, the ports? For one, classroom size is only 63 square meter and there is need for 3 feet apart to avoid transmission, so only 22 students can fit. Most schools are ill-prepared and ill-equipped or have not been trained for nCoV prevention at all,” Salceda pointed out.
Salceda on the other hand said that it is only a one day “stay home day” with national class and work suspension.
“The logic is to mitigate crowds. Pero kung pupunta rin lang sila sa mga malls, eh di ganun din, so ipasara din muna mga yan for 1 day. In effect, parang may malaking bagyo na pinaghandaan na pwede tumama sa kahit anong parte ng bansa. Yung iba pwede magtrabaho at home via internet. Yung buong government lang ang papasok,” he said.