Garcia seeks to eliminate Covid vaccination requirement

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CEBU Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has reminded all mayors in the province that Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination should not be considered as an additional

mandatory requirement for educational, employment, and other similar government transaction purposes.

“Rural Health Units should not be used by Department of Education District Superintendents, District Supervisors, and School Heads in order to discriminate against

unvaccinated teachers, students, or parents,” read part of the memo issued by Garcia on Monday, June 13, 2022.

DepEd-Central Visayas Director Salustiano Jimenez earlier told SunStar Cebu that about 1,000 public school teachers in the region were not yet allowed to teach in front

of their students amid the implementation of the limited face-to-face classes as they remain unvaccinated against Covid-19.

Jimenez, however, did not give any breakdown as to how many of the unvaccinated teachers are from Cebu Province.

He said some were reportedly still hesitant due to their respective beliefs while others had been advised by their doctors to skip the vaccination due to their illnesses.

Jimenez said the alternative tasks given to them depend on their principals, adding that they may be the ones who will print or prepare the activity sheets or materials for

the blended learning or perform other tasks so long as they have work to do or accomplish.

The regional director, however, assured them that they will not be dismissed or terminated from work since their refusal to get vaccinated is not a ground for dismissal or

termination as stated in the provisions of the law.

He said it was President Rodrigo Duterte who approved the vaccination requirement at the time when Education Secretary Leonor Briones requested the opening of

schools for the limited face-to-face classes in the country.

Jimenez reiterated that unvaccinated teachers can still report to school as long as they can submit either a negative rapid antigen or negative reverse transcription

polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result every two weeks.

The unvaccinated teachers will shoulder costs of their Covid tests.

Jimenez further said it is up to the teachers to decide whether they will continue to abide by the protocol or decide to resign if they cannot deal with the fact that they are

no longer allowed to handle classes.

However, Jimenez said, the government will shoulder the cost of Covid tests for those who were advised by their doctors not to get inoculated due to their illnesses.

“For me, it’s not [discriminatory] because that’s still a choice. They should not feel [that it’s] discriminatory because that’s the policy,” he said, adding that DepEd is just

implementing the policy of the IATF, which has the authority to create measures on health.

Central Visayas has about 77,000 teaching personnel.

While it is required for teachers, Jimenez clarified that vaccination cards will not be required for learners before they can join the in-person classes. (MKG)

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