Learners will not be obliged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to expand face-to-face sessions around the country.
Children are encouraged to be vaccinated, according to Education Secretary Leonor Briones, but it is up to their parents to make that decision.
“Are we requiring children to have vaccinations before they participate (in face-to-face classes)? Not necessarily. It’s not required. It is voluntary because the parents will make that decision. But of course, we would encourage (it),” Briones said in a Laging Handa press briefing.
The Department of Health (DOH), according to Briones, has already recognized that children have a stronger resistance to COVID-19.
She went on to say that all DepEd employees who will be teaching F2F classes must be vaccinated as an added precaution.
According to the most recent data from the DepEd, 4,239 public schools throughout the country have resumed in-person lessons nearly two years after the COVID-19 epidemic shut down school grounds.
In addition, 76 private schools nationwide have voluntarily restarted in-person classes.
“There are organizations already declaring that they are supported by teachers; we’ve warned them,” she said.
DepEd not requiring children to get vaccinated to join face-to-face classes
The Department of Education has previously issued two memoranda circulars asking teachers to adhere to standards and avoid electioneering and partisan politics.
On Monday, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that reducing the alert level in the National Capital Region (NCR) will allow more schools to resume face-to-face instruction.
Beginning Wednesday, March 1, Metro Manila and 38 other locations across the country will be placed on Alert Level 1.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority, delaying school instruction for a year would cost P11 trillion in lost production over the next 40 years.
“The safe return of face-to-face classes is an important step to help the education sector recover from the effects of the pandemic,” he said.
Following an improvement in the Covid-19 forecast, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has recommended placing Metro Manila on Alert Level 1 from March 1 to 15.