THE decision to let the kids out is aimed at addressing pandemic fatigue among children and preparing for the eventual resumption of face-to-face classes, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday, July 12, 2021.
Vergeire said child health experts presented studies showing that the children have developed physical and mental issues due to pandemic fatigue.
“Nagkakaroon na sila ng issues both physically and mentally at ang kanilang developmental stages ay naha-hamper at naapektuhan because of the lockdowns because they cannot interact properly with other people,” Vergeire said during a press conference Monday.
She said the recommendation, which was adopted by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, was made in consultation with child health experts.
Vergeire also said this policy is in preparation for face-to-face classes, which have been suspended since mid-March 2020.
For weeks now, Vergeire said the DOH and its child health experts have been discussing with the Department of Education (DepEd) plans to pilot limited face-to-face classes.
Vergeire said a proposal to resume in-person classes will eventually be presented to the IATF.
A few weeks back, however, President Rodrigo Duterte again thumbed down DepEd’s proposal to hold face-to-face classes.
Citing the low vaccination rates and the threat posed by highly transmissible variants of the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Duterte said he could not yet risk the health and safety of children.
The IATF on July 8 approved a resolution allowing children five years old and above to go outdoors. They are not, however, allowed in malls and other mixed use areas indoors or outdoors.
The children must still comply with the minimum public health standards, Vergeire stressed.
These include proper wearing of face masks and face shields, physical distancing, avoiding crowds, staying in well-ventilated areas and frequent hand washing. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)