TIME and again since Covid-19 scare reaches its alarming level, the need to have isolation/quarantine sites for persons under investigation (PUIs), those with one or all symptoms of one who is Covid-19 positive is always a challenge to local government units (LGUs) especially to those remote barangays with no facilities like in developed cities and provincial centers.
With the increasing number of positive patients now almost a thousand as of latest count of the Department of Health (DOH), our hospitals are now nearing to reach full capacity that mixing those with mild symptoms with severe ones will only alleviate the situation and will defeat the efforts of the national and local government units in the declaration of community quarantine to abate the further spread of the unseen virus.
Aware of such predicament, the DepEd Office Memorandum OM-2020-003 issued by Secretary Leonor M. Briones on March 26, 2020 spelled out the Template Terms and Conditions for the use of DepEd Schools as Quarantine and Isolation Areas.
According to Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn M. Sevilla, also the DepEd spokesperson, and based from the above Office Memo, the DepEd Terms and Conditions on use of schools as quarantine or isolation areas for COVID -19 are the following: 1. DepEd shall contribute to and fully support IATF-EID in its main intention to lessen present stage/level of COVID-19 contagion; 2. DepEd shall primarily protect all learners, teachers and the community they belong to; and 3. DepEd shall also safeguard and preserve its properties and facilities for the continuity of basic educational services even after this pandemic.
Further, Usec. Sevilla added that the use of schools as quarantine or isolation area by the LGU should be in close consultation, coordination and approval of the DepEd through its division and regional offices, subject to certain terms and conditions which are also provided under DILG Memo, DOH issuance and WHO standard requirements.
Usec. Sevilla also emphasized that the enclosures to the said OM No.3 will provide guidance to LGU heads and DepEd Regional Directors to specifically identify appropriate parameters in choosing quarantine and isolation areas related to COVID-19.
In an interview with the Undersecretary during the #LagingHandaPH Public Briefing on Friday, Usec Sevilla expressed the DepEd’s contribution in unison with "whole-of-a-nation" approach of the government which include among others, the support of the education department Inter-Agency Task Force in the fight against COVID-19. Sevilla added that if it will help and will be find out that no other barangay or municipal facilities can be used and will pass the requirements of the DOH and DepEd and other conditions written in the memorandum then the school can be used as quarantine areas.
Other contribution DepEd included in cushioning the impact of the community quarantine leaving schools to suspend classes, withhold end of year rites like recognition, moving up and graduation ceremonies are releasing the salary for March and earlier for April, clothing allowance, memorandum on managing the remaining days of the school year, including computation of grades, reading of forms and alternative work and meeting arrangements depending on the situation of the localities
For the learners and teachers, they are highly encouraged to use online platform DepEd Commons, wherein they can access lessons and reviewers which are like online games for K to 12 learners and continue using it until the situation will normalize. DepEd is looking for alternative solutions so that the said platforms will be easy to access especially to those places with challenging or no internet connection at all.
This Corner hopes that said normalization will be realized the soonest and encourage everyone to