House wants teachers to be ‘amply protected’ during the pandemic

(File photo)

MANILA – The House of Representatives has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to support public school teachers and college faculty amid the pandemic by providing protective gear individual, disinfectants, tablets or laptops and subscription broadband.

During Wednesday night’s plenary session, the chamber passed House Resolution 2471, which aims to promote the safety of teachers and their students, as well as advance the capabilities of teachers facing remote learning. .

“Given the likelihood of continued transmission of Covid-19, teachers and non-teaching staff should be amply protected against the disease and should therefore be equipped with standard personal protective equipment based on the level of alert raised by the Inter-Agency Level Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, such as face masks, face shields and 70% ethyl alcohol,” the resolution read.

He also highlighted the need to provide tablets or laptops to help teachers in the transition to blended learning.

“When it comes to distance learning, many teachers cannot afford new laptops and high-speed connection for economic reasons, as well as the fact that many teachers only have one computer at home that is shared with other family members, whether for remote work or online classes,” he mentioned.

On Wednesday, DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones authorized all regional directors to begin the phase of gradual expansion of face-to-face classes for public and private schools.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the DepEd’s recommendation to expand limited face-to-face classes in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2 by February, Malacañang said Jan. 18.

Briones proposed the “gradual expansion” of in-person classes in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2 following the positive outcome of the pilot project from November 15 to December 22, 2021.

Pending the release of a revised joint memorandum for the expansion phase, DepEd said current core protocols and standards “will remain applicable as appropriate,” with the following key parameters to be included:
*Expansion schools have been validated as meeting School Safety Assessment Tool (SSAT) standards.
*Schools should be located in areas under alert levels 1 and 2 based on periodic risk assessment by the Ministry of Health.
*Schools may already include other grade levels depending on school capacity.
* The schools or division must have obtained the approval of the local chief executive of the city or town where the expansion school is located, and the schools must also have taken the right coordination with their heads of respective barangays.
*Students participating in face-to-face lessons must have the written consent of their parents.
*Schools are granted flexibility in contact time for teaching and learning, provided meals are not taken at school except during managed recess.
* Only vaccinated teachers can participate in face-to-face lessons, and vaccinated learners will be given preference.

DepEd regional directors have so far submitted a list of 6,686 schools nationwide that have passed the SSAT, of which 6,586 are public schools and 100 are private schools.

According to the DepEd, schools are on a mid-year hiatus and the in-person course pilot will resume Feb. 7 “but some divisions may begin at a later date following course suspensions during the Omicron surge and because of the Typhoon Odette in some affected areas.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has placed the National Capital Region and the provinces of Batanes, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Biliran, Southern Leyte and Basilan under Alert Level 2 as of the February 1 last. (NAP)

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