By John Noel E. Herrera
The Department of Health (DOH)-Western Visayas urged students to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as the resumption of full in-person classes already started last Nov 2, 2022.
DOH-6 officer-in-charge (OIC) assistant regional director Ma. Sophia S. Pulmones also emphasized the importance of vaccination against COVID-19 to maintain a safe school environment for the learners, and teaching and non-teaching personnel, as well as to sustain the implementation of face-to-face classes.
“It is through vaccination that our learners can fully enjoy their education, which have been greatly affected since 2020 during the pandemic. It is now important more than ever that we willingly submit them to vaccination for them to fully enjoy learning,” Pulmones said.
Pulmones added that while restrictions against COVID-19 have started to loosen up, students as well as teachers should not be complacent and still follow the health and safety procedures of schools to ensure their safety.
DOH OIC-Undersecretary Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho also stressed that the best tools “to ensure the safety of our learners are vaccinations and following the minimum health standards.”
“Through proper use of masks, handwashing and hand hygiene, and maintenance of adequate airflow in our classrooms and other learning spaces, we are maximizing our ability to prevent COVID-19 and ensure a safe and fruitful experience for our students,” Ho added.
Recent data available from the Department of Education (DepEd)-Western Visayas indicated that 513,875 learners in the region are fully vaccinated (two doses), while 552,696 received the first dose of vaccine.
Data also showed that out of 84,832 total DepEd-6 personnel, 79,352 are fully vaccinated, while 906 only received the first dose of vaccine, and 14,678 have already received their first booster shot.
DepEd-6 added that only four out of 4,048 public schools in the region were not able to implement the full in-person classes on Nov 2.
These schools include the Malinao School for Philippine Craftsmen, Progreso Village National High School, Sagay National High School and Aklan National High School for Arts and Trade.
DepEd-6 also cited the damage caused by typhoon Paeng to these schools, as well as the lack of classrooms and increase in enrollment rate as some of the reasons why these schools could not yet proceed to full face-to-face classes.
Under the amended DepEd Order No 44, all public schools “shall have transitioned to five-day in-person classes” after the adjustment period ends on Oct 31, 2022.
DepEd-6 noted that schools should continue to adhere to the provision stated in Order No. 39, s. 2022,or the Health and Safety Protocols in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, to ensure that the students, teachers, and other non-teaching staff are safe as they already transitioned to full in-person classes.
DepEd-6 regional director Ramir Uytico also said that the reopening of face-to-face classes proved that the country is already recovering from the impacts of the pandemic as the focus of different institutions has already shifted from pandemic response to pandemic recovery.
Uytico also acknowledged that the pandemic affected the learning process of students and forced them to attend classes through different learning modalities during its surge, but DepEd-6’s basic education recovery and continuity plan, which contains educational innovations, is able to manage and address some of the gaps and losses in learning outcomes of students.