Malacañang said that half of all public school classrooms in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be used as temporary quarantine facilities as the government establishes more facilities amid the increase of COVID-19 cases in the country.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that this setup has been negotiated and agreed on by both the departments of Education (DepEd) and Health (DOH) as DepEd proceeds with its blended learning scheme starting on August 24.
According to Roque, face-to-face classes can resume in January 2021 “if and when a vaccine and /or medicinal drug is expected to be produced.”
Malacañang has assured the public that the government is expanding its isolation capacity as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continues to rise.
As of Wednesday, the country has recorded 143,749 COVID-19 cases, 2,404 of whom died while 68,997 have recovered.
The use of public schools came weeks after the government started to transfer all mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases who do not have their own bedrooms and bathrooms in their houses.
In his Tuesday presser, Roque said that Education Secretary Leonor Briones has allowed the use of school facilities for quarantine since face-to-face classes remain prohibited until a vaccine against COVID-19 is developed.
He also noted that the use of public schools as isolation centers will augment the facilities being built by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“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 Briones agreed to use public schools until December 31 while students don’t have face-to-face classes),” he said.
DepEd had said that only schools in areas classified as “low risk” will be allowed to have limited face-to-face classes.