ALL schools run by the government and private institutions in Cebu City can now fully implement face-to-face classes amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic after Mayor Michael Rama signed an executive order (EO) permitting such on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.

Rama’s EO 164 allowed the conduct of in-person classes at all levels provided that minimum public health protocol must be observed in schools. These include the wearing of face masks and observance of physical distancing, checking of temperature check upon student’s entry into school and frequent washing of hands or use of disinfectant, and early reporting of flu-like symptoms.

Collin Rosell, the executive secretary of Rama, told reporters that the schools and universities should craft guidelines of their own to ensure that classes will be held in a “safe and reasonable accommodation capacity.”

Rosell, a lawyer, further said that the schools should also coordinate with the city health department for the crafting of the guidelines.

He said the mayor’s EO is the answer to the private educational institutions’ request to allow in-person classes. Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the city’s active cases have remained low in the second quarter of 2022.

Signing the EO, Rosell said, is the mayor’s way of supporting the students’ education.

Vaccination encouraged

Rama’s EO also encouraged the students, teachers, and staff members of schools to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Special vaccination days for schools and universities will also be scheduled so the unvaccinated students can have easy access to the vaccines.

“School clinics must make all the necessary preparations in line with the Covid-19 vaccination program including the conduct of special vaccination days for schools and universities in the City of Cebu,” read a portion of the EO.

The EO further states that “clinic personnel shall identify and monitor the risk factors which may compromise the learning environment and to design measures to eliminate the same.”

Rosell clarified that the clause used in the EO is only to “encourage” the students to get vaccinated since the city has already achieved a high vaccination rate.

According to the Local School Board, Cebu City has a total of 140 public schools in elementary and high school levels.

Last June 20, top executives of 10 schools and universities in the city visited Rama’s office to ask the mayor to further ease the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in conducting in-person learning.

These are the University of San Carlos, University of Southern Philippines Foundation, Don Bosco Technical College–Cebu University of San Jose-Recoletos, Cebu Institute of Technology-University, University of Cebu, Southwestern University, University of the Visayas, Cebu Institute of Medicine, and Velez College.