Mayor Sara wants teachers, students in pilot face-to-face classes vaccinated

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 5 Oct) – With five schools here targeted for pilot face-to-face classes, the local government is asking the permission of the Department of Health (DOH) to vaccinate students and teachers regardless of comorbidities as a precaution during the upcoming experiment.

A classroom in a public school in Davao City pre-pandemic days. MindaNews file photo by RUBY THURSDAY MORE

Mayor Sara Duterte revealed in her weekly Special Hours segment at DCDR 87.5 FM that the idea was discussed by the city’s COVID-19 Task Force meeting on Monday.

The city aims to vaccinate students aged 12 to 17 in the following pilot schools: Dalagdag National High School with Senior High in Barangay Dalagdag, G. Tajo National High School with Senior High in Barangay Lampianao, Saloy National High School with Senior High in Barangay Saloy, Mabuhay Elementary School now Victor Bernal Integrated School with Kindergarten in Barangay Mabuhay, and Gumitan Elementary School with Kindergarten in Barangay Gumitan.

The schools were chosen after being categorized as having “minimal risk” as far as COVID-19 is concerned.

“It was discussed during the vaccine cluster reporting earlier that they will also include the vaccination of the five schools that were submitted for the pilot face-to-face classes of the Department of Education (DepEd). So they will seek permission for that, whether or not there is comorbidity but they were selected to be the pilot schools,” the mayor said.

Only fully vaccinated teachers and non-teaching staff would be allowed in the pilot schools, Duterte said.

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson, said that the National COVID-19 Task Force Vaccination Operations Center, through its Advisory No. 89, has issued guidance on the vaccination of Public and Private School Teaching and Non-Teaching Personnel in Educational Institutions to prepare for the eventual re-opening of limited face-to-face classes for students, especially in basic education institutions.

Classes here have been suspended since the beginning of the pandemic.

Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes in low-risk areas around the country.

The DepEd said the pilot “will only be participated by at least 100 public schools and 20 private schools.”

“These schools are located in minimal-risk areas based on the criteria set by the [DOH], and must have passed the safety assessment using the school safety assessment tool of DepEd, and have the support of the local government unit in the form of a resolution or letter of support. While the public schools have already undergone a selection process, the private school participants will still undergo selection,” the DepEd said in a statement issued Sept. 30.

Students will not be forced to attend the pilot implementation, while parents have to submit their written support and consent in order for children to participate.

The pilot will be conducted with a combination of face-to-face classes in school and distance learning modalities for two months, the DepEd said.

Face-to-face classes shall be conducted half-day every other week, with participating schools ensuring that class schedules are arranged equitably so that all qualified learners have the opportunity to attend face-to-face classes.

According to the education agency, the pilot project was prepared as a partnership between DepEd, DOH, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other organizations specializing in children’s health.

The partnership aims to ensure “health and safety standards in terms of personal protective equipment, sanitation, detection and referral, ventilation, contact tracing, and quarantine, coordination, and contingency measures.” (Yas D. Ocampo / MindaNews)