Kids’ vax encouraged for F2F classes but not required

NEW NORMAL. Students of Napo Elementary School (NES) in Barangay Napo, Linamon, Lanao del Norte are separated by makeshift cubicles as face-to-face classes start on Nov. 15, 2021. The NES is one of six schools allowed by the Department of Education to pilot in-person classes in the province. (PNA photo by Divina M. Suson)

Students and learners who want to participate in face-to-face classes are encouraged but not required to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones stressed this point in a recent televised public hearing on the issue. “We encourage them but is not a requirement,” she said, adding their parents “will be the ones to decide on that.”

Briones said the Department of Education has a similar policy with the Department of Health regarding the needed consent from parents on pediatric vaccination. Citing zero cases of Covid-19 among 15,000 learners involved in the pilot face-to-face classes implementation, she said young children have high level of immunity against diseases.

DepEd, however, said teaching and non-teaching personnel who will participate in the face-to-face classes are required to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Unvaccinated personnel who need to report to schools must also be tested for Covid-19 and be able to submit the result.

To date, a total of 4,295 schools have started their face-to-face classes while 6,213 schools are ready for implementation based on the criteria set by government authorities.