More schools open face-to-face classes in Davao region
DAVAO CITY—More schools have reverted to the traditional face-to-face classes in the Davao region as the number of COVID-19 cases continued to drop in this city.
Jenielito Atillo, spokesperson of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 11, said at least 362 private and public schools, or 13 percent of the 2,699 total number of schools in the region, had returned to face-to-face learning as of Monday, March 21, when the Department of Health reported 113 new cases in the region, a 25-percent decrease from those reported on May 7 to 13.
This developed as Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, in an interview streamlined on Facebook, urged the Davao public to get vaccinated as health experts continued to monitor Omicron’s sublineage BA.2, earlier dubbed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “variant of concern.”
Carpio said health experts were not discounting the possibility of another surge. “There will be an upcoming surge due to a sub-variant of Omicron. The surge will come in one to two months so we have to get boosted and vaccinated,” Duterte said, addressing the unvaccinated and those who still had to get their booster shots.
But she assured the public that there would be no lockdowns if cases rise and home isolation would be allowed among those who show symptoms but wouldn’t need hospitalization.
“Our direction is no lockdowns. There will be home isolation except for those who have lingering illnesses who need to be hospitalized,” she said.
The city government has lifted almost all restrictions when Davao City was placed under Alert Level 1.
Atillo, who spoke during the One Davao virtual presser on Tuesday. said in case a surge of COVID-19 cases would happen again, schools holding face-to-face classes should automatically stop and go back to online classes.
“If there is a surge again those who have started face-to-face classes should go back to virtual classes. This is clear, if the Alert Level goes back to 3, automatically schools should revert back either to blended, modular or radio, or online-based learning,” he said.
Atillo said schools had been given free hand to decide whether to go back to the traditional face-to-face mode of learning, or stay online, which explained the relatively low number of schools returning to face-to-face.
Dr. Michelle Schlosser, spokesperson of the city’s COVID-19 Task Force, said the city government had stopped the use of seven public schools here as vaccination sites in preparation for the resumption of face-to-face classes at all levels in the city.
Before they were allowed to open, schools were required to comply with the school safety and assessment tool (SSAT), designed by DepEd to ensure the safety of both teachers and learners, Atillo said.
SSAT ensures that school facilities, workforce, and human resources are ready to respond to possible COVID-19 infection in the school setting.
Atillo confirmed that between March 14 to 18, 47 learners and one personnel at DepEd 11 showed symptoms of COVID-19, but all of them had fully recovered.
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