/ 8 August 2020

THE TEACHERS’ Dignity Coalition has asked the Department of Education to move the scheduled opening of classes following reports that some public school teachers have contracted Covid19 while doing tasks in schools.

“We already have teachers who tested positive for Covid19 after doing tasks in schools while our learning modules remain unrealized,” Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairman, said in a statement.

“This should compel the good secretary (Leonor Briones) to move school opening to a much later date, especially given that the re-imposed MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) extends to August 18, hampering even more the needed preparations,” Basas added.

The TDC earlier demanded for accountability of DepEd officials for failure to implement its own policy on the work arrangement of teachers.

The group has also asked the DepEd to take appropriate actions on the reported cases of field officials requiring their teachers to physically report to schools.

According to the DepEd guidelines under DepEd Order No. 11, s. 2020, physical reporting should only be rendered after consultation with concerned personnel and only upon the authorization of the regional director.

The TDC also asked the education department to prioritize the training of teachers and orienting of parents as it prepares the whole system for school year 2020-2021.

“Meanwhile instead, DepEd could conduct valuable teacher training and parent orientation, as well as work to strengthen technological infrastructure to better respond to this crisis,” Basas said.

The DepEd reiterated its guidelines on alternative working arrangements for areas under MECQ.

In a memoradum, the education department emphasized that the agency and schools shall operate with minimal skeleton workforce to provide only essential services while the rest of the personnel shall be on a work-from-home arrangement

Supervising executive committee and regional directors have been directed to issue an office order or memorandum with the names of personnel identified as skeleton workforce who will physically report to the workstations during this period.

The education department also reminded heads of offices to ensure that the workplace is compliant with necessary safety and health precautions.