Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian urged public school officials Thursday to strictly enforce the Department of Education (DepEd) order to come up with alternative work arrangements and follow health protocols to ensure teachers and personnel are less vulnerable to infection.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, made the call after 10 high school teachers in Ilagan City, Isabela reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a meeting.
Two students also reportedly contracted the virus. Ilagan City is still under modified enhanced community quarantine until Oct. 16.
In order to prevent the uptick of the COVID-19 cases among teachers and teaching personnel now, Gatchalian said school officials should be reminded to uphold safety protocols while they carry out their task and distributing modules to students.
Back-to-school essentials, he said, should also include masks, face shields, and personal protective equipment (PPEs). Teachers and staff who contract COVID-19 should also have their health care needs given immediate attention, the senator reiterated.
“Ngayon nagsimula na ang klase, lalo nating dapat tutukan ang kalusugan ng bawat guro at non-teaching staff lalo na’t sila ang nagsisilbing mga frontliners sa pagpapatupad ng distance learning sa gitna ng pandemya (Now that classes have started, we should focus on the health of our teachers and non-teaching staff more so because they serve as our frontliners in implementing distance learning in the middle of this pandemic),” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian also said that since classes are in full swing, the arrangement between DepEd and PhilHealth should already be operational to inspire and sustain teachers’ and personnel’s confidence in the government’s roll-out of distance learning program.
“Kailangang siguruhin natin ang kanilang kaligtasan sa kanilang pagtatrabaho at kung sakali namang tamaan sila ng sakit, dapat matiyak natin na makatatanggap sila ng agarang tulong medikal (We need to make sure they are safe as they go about their work and should they fall sick, they should have immediate access to medical treatment).”