THE Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday, January 24, 2022, urged teachers, schools workers and eligible students to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease (Covid-19), saying it is key to further implementing in-person classes in the country.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones urged the department’s field offices to coordinate with their respective local government units for the continuous vaccination of students and frontliners of the education sector.

“Vaccination is one of the essential keys towards protecting our communities and our children against the threats of Covid-19. With additional protection for our stakeholders, we can further implement our safe-return-to-schools initiatives while helping our economy recover,” she said in a statement.

Briones also reminded teaching and other school staff to get booster shots.

The DepEd is implementing a three-phased plan for the gradual resumption of face-to-face classes in the country. Only vaccinated teachers are allowed to participate in the in-person classes.

Several schools have resumed classes since November 2021.

By February 2022, DepEd will present to President Rodrigo Duterte their assessment of the pilot run.

It aims to expand the face-to-face classes by March 7, 2022.

But due to the surge in Covid-19 cases believed to be due to the Omicron variant, the DepEd earlier declared academic break in various areas.

The National Government started the vaccination rollout for adolescents aged 12 to 17 in November 2021.

Covid-19 vaccination for children as young as five is eyed by February.

As of January 23, a total of 57,268,257 individuals have completed their first dose, while 59,799,215 got their first dose.

A total of 6,298,336 had their booster doses. (SunStar Philippines)