All teachers and non-teaching personnel who will be participating in the pilot implementation of limited face-to-face classes need to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday, Sept. 27, said.
During the virtual ceremonial signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular (IMC) for the pilot implementation of face-to-face learning modality between DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH), education and health experts deemed it was necessary for teachers and other school personnel who will participate in the pilot run for the safety of everyone – especially the students.
Safety is priority
During the media briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones also underscored the importance of allowing only those who are fully vaccinated to participate in the pilot run since they will be interacting with the children.
In a mix of English and Filipino, Briones explained that DepEd’s the legal department also conducted a study on making vaccination a requirement for personnel should in-person classes be allowed TO resume even on a pilot basis.
Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said also stressed among the agreements between the departments is that teachers joining the pilot implementation should be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We are committed to providing additional protection for our teachers through vaccination,” Duque said. “While vaccination is not mandatory, classroom learning will be limited to vaccinated teaching personnel,” he added.
In order not to “disenfranchise unvaccinated” teachers, Duque said that they may teach using distance or online modules. “This also presents options for parents who are still hesitant to send their children to school,” he explained.
Related to this, Briones said DepEd – with the help of DOH and other local partners – will “soon orient those who will be involved in the pilot run and coordinate with them regarding the prioritization of their vaccination in case our participating teachers and other non-teaching personnel haven’t completed their vaccines yet.”
Based on the operational guidelines on the conduct of pilot study on face-to-face learning modality presented by DepEd Planning Service Director Roger Masapol, he explained that as part of ensuring safe operations during the pilot run, only school personnel who are 65 years old and below and with no diagnosed co-morbidities will be allowed to participate.
“All school personnel that will be involved must be fully vaccinated,” he added.