By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday has alerted all regional directors, schools division superintendents, principals or school heads, both teaching and non-teaching personnel, learners, and all others concerned to “take precautionary measures against the possible spread of the [new corona]virus (2019-nCoV).”
DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua, in a Jan. 24 memorandum, also strictly advised everyone to take precautionary measures such as making hand washing a habit; to cover one’s mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing; avoid close contact with people who show signs of respiratory illness; drink plenty of water and ensure foods are cooked properly; and consult a health facility if “symptoms of cough and colds persist.”
In the same memo, DepEd also reminded schools on the re-emergence of polio in the country as confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH). Pascua reiterated that all agencies, including DepEd, are “urgently called upon to respond and address the polio outbreak.”
DepEd also reiterated the “support needed by the DOH to attain the outbreak response goal of immunizing children under five years old and to leave no children behind.”
In line with these health concerns that may affect Filipino learners, DepEd has directed schools to raise awareness about the outbreak of polio, and to communicate the areas covered by the mass immunization campaigns as well as their schedules.
Schools are also asked to “promote correct information about polio and its lifelong and irreversible impact on children” as well as provide support to health workers and volunteers in vaccinating all children, especially those located in hard-to-reach areas.
Moreover, DepEd also asked the schools to create posts echoing the campaign’s key messages.
“In the interest of everyone’s health and safety, all school officials are strictly enjoined to support measures, awareness, and initiatives against coronavirus and polio in the Philippines,” Pascua said.
As a precautionary measure in relation to the outbreak of the 2019-nCoV in China and neighboring Asian nations, several Chinese schools have suspended classes starting Jan. 27.
DepEd said it will continue to coordinate with the DOH on actions to be taken in relation to the possible spread of 2019-nCoV in the country.