Key role of barangays in limited face-to-face classes cited

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The City Schools Division of the Department of Education underscored that barangays play a key role in helping the different public elementary and high schools in the resumption of limited face-to-face classes following the downgrading of the city’s status to alert Level 1 which eases up the previous quarantine restrictions.

Dr. Mary Libeney Sito, Medical officer of the City Schools Division, stated that one of the major requirements of schools to be allowed the resumption of limited face-to-face classes is that the barangays hosting the said schools must have no Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases over the past 28 days.

Further, she claimed that schools that have passed the stringent requirements based on their respective School Safety Assessment Tool must establish their triage right at the entrance of the school compound which should be complete with alcohol and face masks for the use of the students, teachers and non-teaching.

The medical officer explained that all individuals who will be entering the compound of these selected schools are mandated to wear their face masks at all times.

However, if there will be children who will be entering the school premises without face masks because they might have left the same or might have lost it on the way, they will be provided  at the triage area to allow them to enter the school and attend their class schedules.

According to her, if there will be confirmed COVID-19 cases among teachers and students during the course of the limited face-to-face classes, appropriate contact tracing will be done to ascertain the extent of infection followed by the implementation of granular lockdown in the classroom where the cases were discovered.

Moreover, classrooms where the COVID-19 cases have been found will be disinfected before face-to-face classes will resume.

Sito revealed that the operation of school canteens are not yet allowed under the present set up because students are only allowed to stay in school for a maximum of 4.5 hours, which means they will no longer have to spend their lunch in the school premises.

She emphasized that students, especially the older ones, have been constantly reminded to directly go home after their class schedules to prevent them from being exposed to the deadly virus.

Sito stipulated that for the younger ones, there will be designated waiting areas in the schools for their parents to await their children from their classes so that they will be able to bring them home immediately to prevent them from unnecessarily being exposed to the elements that might compromise their health.

The education department and the City Health Services Office (CHSO) are now validating the compliance of the different schools that are allowed to resume limited face-to-face classes for their compliance to existing health and safety protocols.