Negros Occidental schools go online, require face masks amid flu cases

Negros Occidental schools go online, require face masks amid flu cases

Some schools in Negros Occidental, including this provincial capital, have shifted to online classes and required face masks since last week after increasing reports of influenza-like symptoms among students.

On Tuesday, the Southland College in Kabankalan City announced anew a transition to online learning in pre-school, elementary, and junior high school until Wednesday to curb the spread of infection and ensure the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff.

“Due to the ongoing rise in the number of influenza-like cases in our community and as a preventive measure, we will shift to online classes from Oct. 3 and 4,” the school’s crisis management committee medical team said in a circular signed by its chairman, school president Juan Antonio Zayco Villaluz.

It added that the “decision has been made to limit the possible spread of infection across our campus and ensure everyone’s welfare.”

The school, located in southern Negros, first implemented the transition to online classes on Sept. 27 to 29 to “minimize the risk of further spreading any potential illnesses with(in the) campus.”

In Bacolod, the St. Scholastica’s Academy had also opted to hold online classes at all levels from Sept. 25 to 29 “due to increasing cases of respiratory infections.”

On similar dates, the Colegio San Agustin - Bacolod (CSA-B) transitioned to online learning for pre-school, grade school, junior, and senior high school students “in response to unpredictable weather conditions and the reported increase in flu-related symptoms.”

Starting Sept. 25, the CSA-B administration also directed the mandatory wearing of face masks inside the campus and advised those who are sick to stay home.

“Students and employees should submit to online daily self-monitoring using the Google form at least one hour prior to entry to the campus,” it added.

The STI - West Negros University here likewise advised the wearing of face masks inside the campus starting Sept. 28.

In an interview, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said schools have the discretion to require students to wear face masks as it would also pose a problem whenever infection spreads among the students.

“There seems to be a virus that’s happening now, not only here in Negros but even in Manila. Some of the schools went back to online schooling,” he said.

Lacson, who said he has never stopped wearing a face mask, encouraged Negrenses to continue using face masks, especially in public transportation and enclosed spaces.

“That is something we learned also from the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic – the use of face masks. We all know face masks will not only protect us from Covid-19 but also from other viruses,” he added. (PNA)

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