Bacolod City halts face-to-face classes amid Omicron threat

Marchel Espina
Bacolod City halts face-to-face classes amid Omicron threat

A class in Alangilan National High School in Bacolod City during the opening of limited face-to-face classes in December 2021.

Em Ang

Mayor Evelio Leonardia defers action on applications by a college and university to begin face-to-face classes of their allied medical courses

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — The city government of Bacolod will halt face-to-face classes in one of its public schools due to the emerging threat of the Omicron variant.

The city’s announcement came a day after officials reported the first Omicron case in Western Visayas, a 38-year-old returning overseas Filipino (ROF) who arrived here on December 31.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia, in a press statement released by the public information office on Tuesday, January 4, held off giving a date for the resumption of limited face-to-face classes at Alangilan National High School.

The city also deferred action on applications by a college and a university to begin face-to-face classes of their allied medical courses. 

The city information office said members of the Emergency Operations Center-Task Force (EOC-TF) pushed to set aside face-to-face instructions for the next 15 to 30 days because of the high possibility of a new surge, especially after the holidays and the impact of Typhoon Odette.

Dr. Jane Juanico of the Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas informed the city that the Omicron-positive ROF and his wife, who tested negative, will complete their seven-day isolation period. After that, the couple do not need another RT-PCR test and can re-integrate with the community.

Health officials have stressed the man was already clinically cleared from his Manila isolation facility when he flew to Bacolod City.

While he still tested positive in a new test after genome sequencing results showed him with the Omicron variant, government doctors said he is no longer infectious.

“We are constantly in touch with the DOH through its regional office for guidance, although under the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines, similar cases mandate a 10-day isolation period which they have already complied with,” said Dr. Rosalie Deocampo, of the EOC-TF contact-tracing cluster.

Leonardia said the city government will strengthen its border controls to stop the spread of the virus. 

He urged residents to remain vigilant, to get vaccinated or get booster shots, and observe the minimum health protocols.

The mayor warned that the uptick in cases across the National Capital Region could spill over to the provinces and regions. –