DepEd defends policy mandating on-site work
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) said Tuesday it was only complying with the government’s directive in mandating all of its personnel in Alert Level 1 areas to physically report to schools and offices.
DepEd said its policy was in compliance with the Office of the President’s Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 96, which details the required on-site workforce in government agencies under the COVID-19 alert level system.
It also said the policy was in line with the Resolution No. 163-A of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), which requires government offices in Alert Level 1 areas to observe a 100-percent onsite workforce, while off-site work shall be subject to relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Office of the President.
DepEd further stated that based on its Memorandum No. 29, series of 2022 or the “Work Arrangements in the Department of Education during the Imposition of Alert Level 1 System for COVID-19 Response,” the 100 percent on-site reporting capacity is required for all DepEd offices.
“We see the 100% onsite reporting as an opportunity to improve the implementation of our multiple learning delivery modalities, through a more efficient supervision and monitoring of the proper use of learning modules and online platform,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement.
“With this, we can facilitate school-level activities such as learning action cells, coaching and mentoring, remedial classes, and parent-teacher conferences,” she added.
According to DepEd, this will cover all teaching and non-teaching personnel, including contracts of service and job orders in all offices, schools, and community learning centers, both adopting face-to-face classes and distance learning modalities.
Meanwhile, remote and flexible work arrangements may be adopted in accordance with the CSC MC No. 18, s. 2020 and DepEd Order No. 11, s. 2020, depending on the prevailing COVID-19 alert level in the locality where the offices, schools, and community learning centers are located.
Some teacher groups have called on DepEd to suspend Memorandum No. 29, noting that it is unreasonable for teachers to be physically present in schools when their students are learning from their homes. Some teachers have also complained of poor internet connection in their schools.
DepEd, however, said that heads of offices and schools should ensure the provision of necessary support and resources, including internet connectivity, to all personnel reporting for work in person.
It added that personnel infected or identified as close contacts of a probable and confirmed case of COVID-19 are not required to report to work and may avail of the excused absence or adopt a work-from-home arrangement.
“As our personnel go back to our schools and offices, we want to ensure their health and safety. We enjoin field officials to provide the necessary support they need for the success of our learning delivery to our children,” said Briones.
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