‘No decision’ yet on mass testing in schools – DepEd

Bonz Magsambol
‘No decision’ yet on mass testing in schools – DepEd
'It might be misinterpreted as testing all, which may be neither affordable nor needed,' Department of Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan says

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Monday, May 18, there is “no decision yet” on mass testing in schools. 

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malauan said there would be a testing protocol that would need to be compliant with health standards, but “mass testing” would be defined carefully. 

“It might be misinterpreted as testing all, which may be neither affordable nor needed,” Malaluan said in a tweet

This was in reply to an ABS-CBN story published on Sunday, May 17, that said the department was eyeing the conduct of mass testing in schools. 

In an interview with DZMM on Sunday, DepEd Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo said that the education department was studying the cost of conducting mass testing in schools to help ensure the safety of students and school personnel. 

“Pinag-aaralan namin kung magkano ito, [kung] kaya ba,” Escobedo said. (We’re still studying how much it would cost, and if we can afford it.)

The government coronavirus task force earlier approved the DepEd’s resolution on the school opening on August 24 for school year 2020-2021, adding that classes may be conducted in classrooms or virtually, depending on the state of the coronavirus pandemic by then.

Meanwhile, private schools that want to open classes in June may do so if allowed by the government task force. Schools should also follow the health department’s safety protocols, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said.

“No face-to-face classes will be allowed earlier than August 24, 2020, and, from then on, face-to-face classes may be conducted only in areas allowed to open physically,” Briones said.

As of Sunday, the Philippines recorded 12,513 cases of coronavirus infections, with 824 deaths and 2,635 recoveries. – Rappler.com

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.