Students ‘encouraged’ to wear face masks in schools during 1st week of full implementation of face-to-face classes

THE Department of Education Central Visayas (DepEd 7) encourages the wearing of face masks in schools for the first week of the full implementation of face-to-face classes nationwide, which started on November 2, 2022.

DepEd 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said the suggested measure is to prevent a surge in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, particularly in highly urbanized cities, which have large populations.

He said students just had a long weekend and may have been exposed to the disease.

"For example, they could have gone from one cemetery to another... we don't want that the spread would come from our schools. So we have to be careful," he said.

Jimenez clarified that wearing face masks is not mandatory.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. signed an executive order making face masks optional indoors and outdoors, which was adopted by Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte for the education sector.

Jimenez said the DepEd 7 has no record of a student, teacher, or teaching personnel testing positive for Covid-19 since school year 2022-2023 started in August.

Meanwhile, he urged students and teachers not to attend school if they have flu-like symptoms such as fever and cough or if they have a cold, which could have been caused by adverse weather conditions.

Jimenez said parents of sick students absent for more than a day could go directly to the school to ask for activity sheets and modules to ensure their children would not be behind in their lessons.

He said the children can return to school once they are fully recovered and they won’t have to present a medical certificate.

“We trust parents and students enough that they would not lie about their children’s absence and take advantage of this,” he said.

Jimenez said he also instructed schools to provide temporary isolation rooms, alcohol, handwashing areas and other sanitary essentials to ensure health safety. (HIC)