By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday, May 28, announced that all teachers will be working from home from starting June 1 to 5, except those who were authorized to form part of the skeleton workforce in schools.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones made this announcement through the issuance of DepEd Memorandum No. 54 s. of 2020 or the reiteration of advisory on work arrangements in the DepEd in light of the recent developments on the COVID-19 situation.
“To avoid risks of exposure pending the finalization of work arrangements by the heads of offices upon the issuance of the comprehensive guidelines next week, all teachers in DepEd schools nationwide shall work from home from June 1 to 5, except for those specifically authorized by the Regional Directors to form part of the skeleton workforce who will render work in school, subject to observance of COVID-19 health and safety precautions,” Briones said.
Briones noted that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), in its Resolution No. 40 s. of 2020 dated last May 27, adopted risk level classifications for provinces, highly-urbanized cities, and independent component cities beginning June 1 to June 15, 2020. This places such jurisdictions under Modified General Community Quarantine, General Community Quarantine, and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine. Such risk level classifications, she explained, were also affirmed by President Duterte in his televised address last May 28.
In light of these developments, Briones said that DepEd will be issuing comprehensive guidelines on work arrangements to “take into consideration the current developments and the policies set forth” by the Office of the President, the IATF, and the Civil Service Commission.
Briones noted that in the meantime, the “status quo on work arrangements for officials, teaching and non-teaching personnel in all its offices, units, and schools” pursuant to DepEd Memorandum No. 43 s. of 2020 and OM-OSEC 2020-001 is extended until the completion of Executive Review of the proposed comprehensive guidelines submitted by the DepEd Task Force COVID-19.
Briones also noted that in view of the enrollment period commencing on June 1, “all are reminded that the first two weeks of enrollment shall completely be remote enrollment, where there will be absolutely no face-to-face” as cited in the guidelines on the enrollment for School Year (SY) 2020-2021 in the context of the public health emergency due to COVID-19 issued earlier through DepEd Order no. 08 series of 2020.
In preparation for the formal school opening on August 24, DepEd earlier announced that teachers shall start rendering service on June 1 upon completion of summer vacation on May 31. Schools shall also conduct enrollment from June 1–30 for all learners intending to attend SY 2020-2021, including those who enrolled during the early registration period in February 2020.
DepEd said that teachers will be asked to attend orientation and training activities on the utilization of the distance learning delivery modalities, prepare instructional materials, and plan the organization of classes in consideration of the learning delivery modalities to be employed. If skeleton workforce will still be the operative government guidelines by June, DepEd said that it will “issue the appropriate alternative work arrangements guidelines to the field to comply with prevailing policy, and to ensure a safe work environment.”
To observe physical distancing, DepEd will roll out a “remote enrollment” system. During the enrollment period, the enrollees and/or their parents/guardians will also be asked to provide information through an enrollment and survey form intended to collect important information to consider for the adoption of the relevant learning delivery strategies and modalities and to further provide support to learners for the school year.