Gov’t to convert some public schools as COVID-19 isolation facilities

The government intends to convert some public schools into temporary isolation centers for coronavirus patients until the end of the year, Malacañang announced Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Education Secretary Leonor Briones has allowed the use of the school facilities to isolate people with the illness.

The conversion of some public schools will augment the isolation facilities being built by the Department of Public Works and Highways as the government steps up testing, tracing, isolation, and treatment efforts, Roque said.

“Gagamitin din po natin ang mga public schools. At pumayag naman po si Secretary Leonor Briones na gamitin ang mga public schools hanggang December 31 ng taong ito habang wala pong face to face ang ating mga estudyante (Secretary Leonor Briones has agreed that we will use some public schools until December 31 this year while the students have no face-to-face classes),” Roque said during a televised press briefing.

“So bukod pa po doon, sa mga istruktura na tinatayo po ni Secretary Villar, ang ating Isolation Czar, nandiyan din po ang ating mga public schools para magsilbing isolation facilities sa level po ng mga barangays dahil importante po talaga ma-isolate kung wala pong sariling kuwarto at walang sariling banyo (Apart from the structures being built by Secretary Villar, our isolation czar, our public schools will serve as isolation facilities at the barangay level because it is important to isolate those who don't have their own room and own bathroom),” he said.

As the country is confronted by a surge in cases of infections, Roque said the government will sustain aggressive efforts to test, trace, and isolate people with the disease. He said more isolation centers will be built while more hotel rooms will be tapped as isolation units.

Some public schools became available, as the government has pushed for blended learning methods in lieu of traditional in-person classes to protect students from the coronavirus threat. The alternative learning strategies include online learning, modular learning, and TV- and radio-based broadcast.

Classes are scheduled to open on August 24.