The Department of Education (DepEd) said that the enrollment for students at the basic education level may start in June – thus, there might be a need to fast-track the vaccination for teachers and other personnel against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, during the press briefing of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday, April 19, expressed gratitude to President Duterte for allowing the inclusion of basic education frontliners in the A4 category of the national vaccination priority list.
“Kami ay tuwang-tuwa dahil ang Presidente ay inaprubahan niya ang ating request na isama ang mga teachers sa babakunahan (We are very happy because the President has approved our request to include teachers in the vaccination),” Briones said.
Briones noted that the original estimated number of teachers who will be included in the list is about 1.2 million teachers at support personnel. However, the final number of the recipients has decreased to at least 791,000 after the local government units started to roll out their vaccination activities which include individuals between 60 to nearing 65.
The jump from B classification to A4 category, Briones said, is a “huge jump for teachers – very good news for everyone” especially that the DepEd has been proposing the resumption of limited face-to-face classes in schools.
She added that the vaccination of teachers and other personnel might take place two months from now. “Siguro mga June ito mag-umpisa kasi by that time [baka] mag-start na ng enrollment, marami ng activities sa mga eskuwelahan at saka kailangan protektado ang mga teachers (Maybe it will start in June because by that time, enrollment might start, there will be a lot of activities in the schools and so the teachers need to be protected),” Briones said.
Briones said that DepEd is “very happy” with this development, which, she said, has been recommended and campaigned for by the department for quite some time already.
Meanwhile, Briones assured DepEd has an available list of teachers and personnel already so there is no need for them to register to be vaccinated. “At saka sa schools, etc., mayroon naman tayong mga doktor, mayroon naman tayo sa DepEd na opisina na para lamang sa pag-implement nitong mga policy na ito (Besides, in schools, etc., we have doctors, we have DepEd offices just for the implementation of these policies),” she ended.
DepEd opened the current school year on Oct. 5, 2020. Based on the amended school calendar for SY 2020-2021 issued in March, the last day of classes in public schools is on July 10, 2021.