By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) continues to monitor learners and personnel for possible coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to DepEd’s COVID-19 Situational Report of Feb. 23, 11 suspected cases involving seven learners and four personnel are being monitored by DepEd.
DepEd noted that one Grade 12 learner in Davao del Sur is on mandatory 14-day quarantine since arriving from Singapore last Feb. 18.
Likewise, one Grade 9 learner in Pangasinan II Division is being monitored as of Feb. 22 due to “exposure from aunt with travel history in Hong Kong.” This learner, DepEd noted, “experiences fever, cough, and colds” and was having “difficulty in breathing.” DepEd referred the learner to the municipal health office on Feb. 17.
DepEd reported that it has monitored three learners in the Schools Division of Cagayan – one Grade 7 student and two elementary pupils — after being exposed to a parent with travel history from Macau. As of Feb. 17, DepEd said the test results of these learners came out negative.
As of Feb. 12, DepEd said two learners in Cebu Province are being “closely monitored” by their respective rural health units (RHU) after being exposed to their father with travel history to Hong Kong. As of Feb. 19, DepEd said the learners have “no fever but with colds” and are on home quarantine.
Aside from learners, DepEd also monitors its personnel for suspected infection. DepEd reported that as of Feb. 17, one personnel in Zamboanga del Norte, who has travel history from Shanghai, has “completed 14-day home quarantine and received medical clearance.”
As of Feb. 13, DepEd said one personnel from Pangasinan II Division was also put under 14-day quarantine after arriving from Taiwan last Feb. 10. One personnel in Misamis Occidental Division was also on home quarantine for having travel history from Australia and has “received medical clearance” as of Feb. 13.
Another DepEd personnel from Malaybalay Division was also on home quarantine for having travel history in China. As of Feb. 17, DepEd said this person has already “received a medical clearance.”
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in DepEd Memo (DM) No. 23 s. 2020 noted that travel measures and restrictions as stipulated in Enclosure No. 2 to DM 15, s. 2020 shall “remain in effect.”
Thus, all personnel and learners who decide to proceed with their scheduled personal travels for the month of February to countries identified to have confirmed cases of COVID-19 “shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival in the Philippines.”
DepEd noted that all learners on quarantine, as well as learners excused from attending school-based activities that involve a congregation of learners, “shall not be marked absent” provided that they are being given Alternative Delivery Modes (ADMs) of education.
In line with ongoing efforts to respond to COVID-19, DepEd schools and divisions have been conducting various Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaigns on the disease and how can schools help prevent its possible spread among learners and personnel.
As per Department of Health (DOH) data, 609 individuals have been checked for possible COVID-19 and of this number, 132 remain admitted in various hospitals while 474 have been already been discharged. This number includes the three Chinese nationals that tested positive for COVID-19, where one died on Feb. 1, one was discharged after recovery, and one already went back to China.
DOH said that to date, there are no “admitted confirmed cases” of COVID-19 in the country.
Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 tracker data, there are 79,336 total cases with 2,615 deaths in 29 countries.