DepEd urged to ensure work-at-home arrangement for personnel

After Metro Manila and nearby provinces were placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), a group of teachers on Monday once again urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure that the work-from-home arrangement for both teaching and non-teaching personnel will be strictly followed by schools and its officials.

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a 30,000-strong group, said that that the appeal from several groups of health professionals to revert to a stricter quarantine category and the response of the Malacanang “attest to the fact that this COVID-19 pandemic is far from being controlled and that everybody needs to contribute to minimize the movement of the people to prevent the further spread of the disease.”

As COVID-19 cases in the country continue to increase, TDC called on the DepEd management to “stand firm by its own directive” prohibiting physical reporting to schools. The group noted that in the past few weeks, there are also reported cases of COVID-19 infection among DepEd personnel which attributed to the performance of their tasks in schools or offices.

“Teachers, as long as practicable, should render their tasks at home and the option for physical or onsite reporting is discouraged and may only be used in exceptional cases,” TDC national chairperson Benjo Basas said, citing DepEd Order No. 11, Series of 2020.

TDC also appealed to Education Secretary Leonor Briones to “consider prioritizing the training of teachers and orienting parents” as it prepares the whole system for the school year 2020-2021. “Aug. 24, the scheduled reopening of classes, is less than a week from Aug. 18, the initial target date to end the MGCQ,” Basas added.

To ensure the safety of both teaching and non-teaching personnel, TDC recommended to DepEd to consider “strictly prohibiting physical/on-site reporting to render tasks that are not essential and can be done remotely.”

The group also asked DepEd to “ensure that the task of printing/reproduction of self-learning modules in schools should not be assigned to classroom teachers” and to postpone the on-going accomplishment of the Individual Performance Commitment and Review Form (IPCRF), releasing of report cards, and retrieval of books, among others.

TDC also urged DepEd to “take administrative actions” against the field officials who are blatantly disregarding and violating the rules from the Central Office -- specifically those that are related to alternative work arrangements amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Lastly, the group also urged DepEd to “shoulder all the expenses” for medication, treatment, and care for personnel who test positive of COVID-19.