A group urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to identify the teachers and other personnel who have tested positive from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and help them by providing medical and financial assistance.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a 30,000-strong group, expressed alarm on the “growing number” of teaching and non-teaching staff who have contracted the disease.
Over the weekend, TDC Chairperson Benjo Basas said that the group conducted a survey through Google Forms. It aims to find out how many teachers or employees of the agency have tested positive from COVID-19.
The said TDC survey was participated by 465 respondents wherein “447 individuals swear that they personally knew of a teacher or DepEd employee who is tested positive with COVID-19 while 18 said that it was confirmed by colleagues.”
TDC noted that based on the said survey, out of that number, “49 respondents said that they tested positive themselves.”
On where they possibly could have acquired the virus, the survey results revealed that “213 said it is uncertain, 65 said that that people got infected in the public places or transportation, 52 said that they were infected in their homes, 54 from the community, while 81 said that they contracted the disease in school or workplace.”
TDC noted that as to the condition of the patients, the survey result showed that “307 said that they are now recovered, 110 are still active cases, 17 of which are confined in hospitals while 48 have died.”
He also explained that the survey has confirmatory questions like the age, gender or school of the subjects or their names in case it is publicly known or with their consent to ensure the unique identity of the person and “avoid double entries.”
TDC said that the respondents also revealed that the DepEd “gave zero assistance, apart from occasional offering of prayers, moral support or contact tracing.”
Basas noted that in most cases, the “bayahinan spirit of voluntary contribution to help one another has been the practice.”
Given this, the TDC slammed the DepEd management for allegedly “belittling the matter” by saying that most of the cases were not work-related as they have stated last August 2020, and recently as well, on the cases of five Isabela teachers who died of COVID-19.
Basas maintained that whether they acquired the virus through community transmission or at home is “irrelevant.”
“They are teachers, and the DepEd, their employer has responsibility to them. They serve the government as front liners of education service, which made them even more prone to infection,” Basas ended – citing Section 22 of a vintage Magna Carta for Public School Teachers which states that “medical check-up, hospitalization and treatment shall be provided free for the teachers in public schools.”
On the other hand, Basas noted that while the said survey “may not be accurate and can only be used as samples,” the group will “depend on the official data” from DepEd once released.