5,390 public school teachers in Central Visayas still unvaxxed
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — At least 5,390 public grade school teachers in Central Visayas face having to forgo in-person teaching tasks as they continued to be unvaccinated against COVID-19, a Department of Education (DepEd) official in the region said.
Salustiano Jimenez, DepEd director in Central Visayas, said these teachers might not be allowed to teach, as the limited in-person classes resumed in the region.
“Teachers are required to be inoculated against COVID-19 otherwise they won’t be able to handle [in-person] classes,” he said in a media interview on Sunday.
Jimenez said the number of uninoculated teachers represented 7 percent of the 77,000 teachers in 20 school divisions in Central Visayas. The region has 3,000 public grade schools and about 1,000 private schools, based on DepEd data.
The teachers who did not submit themselves for vaccination cited either “personal beliefs” or were “ineligible” due to some illnesses, Jimenez said.
Unvaccinated teachers would still report to school and would be tasked to continue handling online classes and checking the modules of students, Jimenez said.
Jimenez explained teachers and other DepEd employees who refused the vaccine would still be required to render work and receive compensation, and could not be terminated on the basis of simply not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
But these teachers would also be required to present negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or antigen test results every two weeks if they would want to continue reporting for work, he said.
Jimenez said they had given safety seals to at least 600 public and private schools in the region that were eligible to conduct in-person classes.
Close to 300 schools have started holding in-person classes on separate dates starting Feb. 21.
“We decided not to allow the resumption of classes altogether because we have to check and validate if they are indeed ready to open their doors to students,” Jimenez said.
Among the requirements schools have to comply with included the DepEd’s Safety Assessment Tool and the concurrence from the parents and the local government.
Jimenez said some schools resumed in-person classes on Feb. 21, Feb. 28, March 1, and March 7. Unlike their teachers, students were not required to be vaccinated to attend in-person classes, Jimenez said.
More schools were expected to resume classes in the coming days as they comply with the requirements set by the DepEd, he added.
Jimenez urged schools that would resume classes to follow the health protocols to prevent another surge in COVID-19 cases.
“I keep reminding them, with strong instructions, to observe the protocols set by the Department of Health and the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases),” he said.
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