By Analou De Vera
The resumption of classes in August will be safe if the minimum health standards will be properly observed, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday (May 26).
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there is no contradiction between the statements of President Duterte and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on the opening of classes.
“Ito rin ang posisyon ni Secretary Duque nang sabihin niyang (This is also Secretary Duque’s position when he said) it is safe to open classes this August as long as minimum health standards are met,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.
“Hindi po ito magkasalungat. Sinabi po ni Secretary Duque na kung masusunod natin ‘yung mga minimum health standards tulad ng physical distancing, pagkakaroon ng supplies para sa hand hygiene, disinfection ng mga lamesa, paglalagay ng foot baths sa mga entrance ng paaralan, at pamimigay ng PPEs (personal protective equipment) kagaya ng cloth mask–mas makakasiguro na ligtas ang ating mga mag-aaral (This are not contradictory. Secretary Duque said that if we comply with the minimum health standards such as physical distancing, availability of hand hygiene supplies, disinfection of tables, placement of foot baths at school entrances, and distribution of PPEs such as cloth masks -we will be more assured that our students will be safe in our schools),” she added.
If the minimum health standards will not be properly followed, it will be imperative to wait for a vaccine for the dreaded disease, said Vergeire.
“Kung hindi natin mapapanatili na safe ang ating mga paaralan because we do not observe the minimum health standards or base sa ating asssements, it would be unsafe, tulad po ng sinabi ng ating Pangulo–hindi natin bubuksan ang mga paaralan hangga’t wala pang bakuna laban sa virus [If we do not keep our schools safe because we do not observe the minimum health standards or based on our assessments, it will be unsafe as our President said – we will not open schools until there is no vaccine against the virus],” Vergeire said.
Duque said in a Senate hearing on Tuesday that “but for now, we think, it is safe to open classes by August 24” but the minimum health standards should be in place.
The Health chief also reiterated his statement on his official Twitter account, writing: “AS LONG AS MINIMUM HEALTH STANDARDS ARE MET, schools can open. If standards are not met, best to wait for a vaccine.”