DepEd-6: No discrimination of unvaxxed workers, learners

A mother buys school supplies for her child learner in preparation for the resumption of classes on Aug 22, 2022. (F.A. Angelo)

By John Noel E. Herrera

As it prepares for the opening classes on Aug 22, 2022, the Department of Education (DepEd) in Western Visayas assured all unvaccinated learners and personnel that they can participate in face-to-face classes.

“Learners who are vaccinated or unvaccinated can participate in the face-to-face classes, since DepEd based on the pronouncement of Atty. Michael Poa during the previous press conferences said that the department is observing a non-discrimination policy toward learners and personnel,” DepEd-6 spokesperson Hernani Escullar Jr. said in an interview.

As of July, 4,903 teaching and non-teaching personnel in Western Visayas are still unvaccinated against COVID-19 because of some reasons such as religion and medical and health conditions.

DepEd-6 has 84,832 personnel and 78,980 of them are already fully vaccinated, while 949 only received their first dose, and 11,746 already received their first booster shot.

There are also 426,332 learners in the region who are completely vaccinated, while 458,292 only received the first dose of the vaccine.

DepEd-6 said it has no data yet on unvaccinated learners.

If COVID-19 cases emerge in learning institutions, Escullar said “the schools already made their Emergency and Contingency Plan in case there will be learners or personnel that have or show covid-like symptoms.”

“If the personnel or learner exhibits these covid-like symptoms in schools, the school head will coordinate with the local government unit (LGU) and the barangay for appropriate response and action. Since this is a shared responsibility, DepEd will follow whatever recommendation is given by the LGU. For learners and personnel that will have covid-like symptoms at home, they have to advise their advisers or school heads regarding their situation and coordinate with Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) or LGU to address their concerns,” he added.

In a press conference, DepEd spokesperson Atty. Michael Poa said that there are no separate guidelines to be issued for the vaccinated and unvaccinated students and personnel.

“We have a non-discriminatory policy. Meaning, for both teachings, non-teaching personnel, as well as our learners themselves,” Poa added.

Last school year, the DepEd only allowed vaccinated teachers and non-teaching personnel to participate in the implementation of limited face-to-face classes.

As of Thursday, there are already 1,690,063 enrolled learners in public and private schools in the region.

1,531,378 students are enrolled in public schools, while 155,493 learners are enrolled in private schools, and 3,192 were registered in local universities and colleges (LUCs) and state universities and colleges (SUCs).