Leading by example, Education Secretary Leonor Briones on Thursday, Dec. 9, received her coronavirus disease (COVID-19) booster shot and urged employees of the Department of Education (DepEd) as well as parents and other members of the community to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
During the “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” event at the SM Megamall, Briones, 81, received her booster shot which was administered by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Prior to this, Briones expressed DepEd’s support to the vaccination program of the government. She also reiterated the importance of vaccination which is closely related to education.
“Even as we say that vaccination right now is voluntary, it is not mandatory but we are aggressively campaigning from North to South on the importance, on the connection of education and vaccination,” Briones said, noting that vaccination is related to DepEd’s efforts to push for limited face-to-face classes.
Briones said that DepEd officials are going around the country to promote further the urgency of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
DepEd has started the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes on Nov. 15 wherein among the requirements is for the teachers who will participate to be fully vaccinated before the chosen schools are allowed to reopen.
Briones explained that among the conditions to hold face-to-face classes is the approval coming from the local governments, the written consent from parents, the readiness of school facilities which should have passed the standards of DOH, and the “clearance” coming from the Health department.
Based on data released by DepEd, there are at least 300 schools nationwide that have allowed to hold limited face-to-face classes on a pilot basis.
“I’m very happy to report na wala pa kaming kahit [that there is no] single case ng [of] COVID since we started with the pilot,” Briones said.
Briones said that DepEd is targeting to conclude the pilot run by the end of this month so the agency can fully implement its policy on Blended Learning which is a combination of digital and face-to-face learning.
“Bigyan natin ang mga bata ng pagkakataon na makakita din sila ng ibang bata (“Let’s give the children the opportunity to see other children as well),” Briones said.
Holding face-to-face classes, Briones added, will also give children the opportunity to see the face of their teacher, a school official or a school building.
All these, she said, will be possible when stakeholders are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, with the help of the national and local government, Briones expressed hope that DepEd will be able to “provide the quality of education that our children deserve” whether they are in public schools, private schools and international schools.