Expert to DepEd: Prepare the ventilation of our schools before classes start

Published August 14, 2022, 3:59 PM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

Ahead of the implementation of face-to-face classes, health reform advocate Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to prepare the ventilation of schools in the Philippines to protect teaching, non-teaching personnel, as well as the students from Covid-19.

(Photo courtesy of DepEd)

Along with the observance of health protocols such as wearing of masks and adherence to physical distancing, a good ventilation prevents the spread of SARS-CoV-2 or the virus that causes Covid-19.

“Since hindi kumpleto ang bakuna at booster natin, ang dapat i-mandate ng DepEd, with the coordination of other agencies, is to prepare the ventilation of our schools (Since our vaccine and booster are not complete, what the DepEd should mandate, with the coordination of other agencies, is to prepare the ventilation of our schools),” said Leachon in an interview over DZRH on Sunday, Aug. 14.

However, apart from Covid-19, Leachon said that schools across the country should also gear up for dengue, noting that it is one of the common diseases during the rainy season.

“Ang ibig sabihin, [we need to] open the windows and then put air filters, electric fans, pero dapat meron din tayong screen dahil papasukin ng lamok eh (What that means is we need to open the windows and put air filters, electric fans, but we must also put screens because mosquitoes will come in),” he added.

Children, according to the Department of Health (DOH), are the usual victims of the dangerous dengue disease.

The only way to ‘save’ kids

In order to further ensure the safety of students, Leachon urged DepEd to provide free masks, alcohol, as well as free testing in schools. Aside from these, he likewise noted the importance of accessible water stations for handwashing to instill the significance of proper hygiene amid a pandemic.

“That’s the only way we can save our kids,” said Leachon, reiterating that preparation plays a huge role in preventing the spread of the disease.

Classes for School Year (SY) 2022-2023 will officially begin on Aug. 22. Blended learning, according to DepEd, may only be implemented until Oct. 31, 2022 as all public and private schools offering basic education were mandated to begin five-day face-to-face classes beginning Nov. 2, 2022.

“We cannot defer [the opening of classes], we have to live with the virus. [What we need to do is] make the people, the teachers, students, and the citizens resilient,” he added.