As it prepares to open all schools for face-to-face classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) assured that there will be no discrimination between vaccinated and unvaccinated teachers, non-teaching personnel, and learners this incoming school year.
“For the in-person classes this year, the position of DepEd is wala po tayong 9we do not have) discrimination between vaccinated and unvaxxed,” DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa said in a press conference on Wednesday, Aug. 10.
Last school year, DepEd only allowed teachers and non-teaching personnel who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to participate in the implementation of limited face-to-face classes.
“This year, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated yung mga guro (the teachers), non-teaching staff, learners — lahat po iyan ay makakapasok sa eskwela (all of them will be able to enter the school),” Poa said.
Poa maintained that the government vaccination program is “not mandatory in nature” thus, as a matter of national policy, getting vaccinated against Covid-19 remains “voluntary” among DepEd personnel.
“Hindi po ito (This is not) mandatory in DepEd and we will not discriminate between those who are vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated, between those vaccinated with boosters and those vaccinated without boosters,” Poa said.
Poa stressed that for both ways, teachers and non-teaching staff, there will be no discrimination. “It’s really non-mandatory, that’s the national policy – the government vaccination drive is non-mandatory,” he added.
Despite this, Poa said that the DepEd is supporting the administration’s call for everyone to get Covid-19 jabs and boosters for their safety.
In an effort to convince unvaxxed personnel of DepEd to get vaccinated, Poa said that the agency is coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) for a mobile vaccination drive and counselling.
Poa said that DepEd has no figures yet on mobile vaccination.DepEd’s regional offices, he explained, are already in contact with their counterparts in DOH. “We will announce the start date as soon as it becomes available,” he said.
For the counselling, he noted that “we are trying to launch it as soon as possible.” DepEd is eyeing to launch the counselling on a per region basis.