Unvaccinated teachers are now allowed to teach in classrooms during the resumption of face-to-face classes on August 22, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Monday.
In a press conference, DepEd Undersecretary Atty. Revsee Escobedo said that some 37,000 teachers are still unvaccinated against COVID-19.
Of this number, 20,000 were committed to receiving the vaccine, while the remaining 17,000 were not.
“Ang bago nating polisiya ay papayagan na silang mag-report at magturo na rin provided na kailangan lang na they will still follow the minimum public health protocol like wearing of face mask and ‘yung silid-aralan na kanilang pagtuturuan ay dapat maayos ‘yung ventilations,” he said.
“Wala na po tayong tinatawag na kailangang bakunado o kaya hindi pahihintulutan ‘yung mga hindi bakunado. Sa ngayon ay lahat ng teacher ay magtuturo sa ating estudyante at sila ay magrereport na sa kani-kanilang silid-paaralan,” he added.
(Our new policy is that we will allow unvaccinated teachers to report and teach, provided that they will still follow minimum public health protocols, such as wearing face masks, and the classroom where they will teach will have proper ventilation. We now no longer prohibit those who are not vaccinated. Right now, all teachers will teach our students and they will report to their respective classrooms.)
In February, former President Rodrigo Duterte approved DepEd’s proposal to expand in-person classes in areas under Alert Level 2 and below, provided that the host local government unit agreed to it, and that the parents or guardians allowed the children to physically go to school.
With this, only vaccinated teaching and non-teaching personnel were allowed to participate in face-to-face classes, while vaccinated learners were preferred.
The pilot testing of face-to-face classes in the country started in November 2021 for both public and private schools that were subject to strict health protocols.
Teachers with COVID-19 symptoms
Further, Escobedo said that teachers who showed COVID-19 symptoms were advised to stay in their homes and get tested.
He added that teachers under quarantine have “excused leave with pay.”
“Kung sila ay nasa bahay, sila ay considered on leave o kaya excused ‘yung kanilang leaves (If they are home, they are considered on leave),” he said.
DepEd said it was coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) to roll out mobile COVID-19 vaccinations and organize counseling sessions among unvaccinated learners in schools.
Meanwhile, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte earlier said that the commingling of children who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who are unvaccinated would not be a problem once face-to-face classes resume. — DVM, GMA News