By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) warned its personnel against traveling abroad without approved travel authority amid the continued threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
DepEd – through its Task Force COVID-19 – has issued its Fourth Set of Policy Guidelines through memorandum no. 31 s. of 2020. Signed by Education Secretary Leonor Briones, the latest set of policy directives was issued to “reiterate and elaborate on previously issued measures” for the guidance of DepEd officials, personnel and staff at the central, regional and division offices and schools nationwide.
The recent guidelines stressed that “all personnel are warned against traveling abroad without approved travel authority.” This, DepEd noted, is in compliance with memorandum from Executive Secretary dated January 3, 2018 which provides that “no government official or personnel shall be allowed to depart for any travel abroad, even if such is for a personal or private purposes without cost to the government unless such official or personnel has obtained the appropriate travel authorization.”
DepEd noted that the travel measures and restrictions as stipulated in Enclosure No. 2 to DM 15, s. 2020, are “extended for the month of March 2020” and shall “continue to remain in effect” – subject to the latest updates and advisories on travel restrictions by concerned authorities.
Briones, in the newly-issued guidelines, noted that the Central Office, Regional Offices, and School Division Offices are “instructed to strictly monitor adherence to these measures.” She also warned that “refusal to submit to these guidelines may result in the filing of administrative actions of misconduct, insubordination, dishonesty, and other related offenses.”
Persons Under Monitoring
Meanwhile, DepEd continues to monitor learners and personnel for possible cases of COVID-19.
Based on the summary of referred suspected cases as cited in its COVID-19 Situational Report No. 35 as of March 5, DepEd is monitoring seven (7) learners, one supervisor, one non-teaching personnel and eight (8) teachers who are under mandatory self-quarantine.
As of March 4, DepEd reported that one (1) non-teaching personnel in Calapan – who has travel history from South Korea – is under monitoring despite exhibiting “no signs and symptoms.”
A Grade 10 learner in Calapan – who has travel history from Singapore – is also under self-quarantine. The learner, according to the City Health Office, does not exhibit any signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, DepEd is still monitoring 8 teachers, 1 supervisor and 6 learners in Dipolog City who are currently on a mandatory 14-day quarantine since arrival from South Korea on Feb. 26.
While the said learners and DepEd personnel have “no signs and symptoms” of COVID-19, they were ordered by the Division Office to “self-quarantine.” DepEd noted that “some of them took the Manila-Dipolog air travel while some landed in Cebu and travelled via ship to Dipolog.”
The public was alerted due to “non-compliance in travel protocol” of the personnel in Dipolog. DepEd earlier said that it is investigating the concerned personnel for possible violation of existing travel protocol. To date, DepEd has yet to provide new update regarding the said investigation.