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Over 800 students, teachers tested positive for COVID-19 –DepEd

The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said that 823 confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported among students, teaching and non-teaching personnel from January 31 to August 23, 2020.

In a press briefing, DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Service (DRRMS) Director Ronilda Co said that 490 of the cases had recovered from the illness.

"Ang confirmed cases po natin ay 823. Ang active ay 310. Unfortunately, sadly, there are those who actually succumbed to COVID,” Co said.

Of the positive cases, 186 were non-teaching personnel, 340 were teachers, and 297 were students. For the fatalities, eight were nonteaching personnel, nine were teachers, and six were students.

According to Co, at least 14 of the confirmed cases involved COVID-19 transmissions in “work-related” settings.

Co highlighted that most of the cases caught the disease outside work and noted that the origins of transmission of some cases had not yet been determined.

“Ginagawa po ng departamento ang lahat ng kanyang makakaya dahil lahat naman ay mahalaga. Wala po tayong tinatabi sa ating kagawaran. We take care of our people as you have seen,” she said.

Citing her experience with COVID-19, Secretary Leonor Briones said that she contracted the coronavirus outside DepEd. Her contacts inside DepEd tested negative for COVID-19.

In a statement on Monday, teachers group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) slammed the DepEd for its alleged lack of “institutional accountability” for the positive cases.

“Where is DepEd's institutional accountability, where is the national government's taking on of its responsibilities to education front liners? Hindi pwedeng iaasa na lang lagi sa abuloy ng mga indibidwal na opisyal,” the group said

“Not to mention that many of these teachers and staff acquired the virus in their disposal of duties, which makes it directly attributable to DepEd's failure to institute preventive measures,” it added.

Due to the COVID-19 threat, the DepEd decided to resume classes through blended learning, which did not require students to go to school to participate in classes and they could thus avoid possible transmission of the virus.

It also removed around 60% of the curriculum to adjust for the remote learning approach this coming school year, the opening of which was moved from August 24 to October 5.

The department has been preparing for ways to deliver education to students through self-learning modules, broadcast media, and the internet. — DVM, GMA News