MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) will make the wearing of face masks inside classrooms optional, its spokesman said on Tuesday, November 1.
“We will follow EO (Executive Order) 7,” DepEd spokesman Michael Poa told reporters in a text message.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed EO 7 on Friday, October 28, lifting a mask-wearing mandate that had been in place since 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Schools may immediately implement optional masking indoors, pursuant to EO 7,” Poa added.
EO 7 also mandates the implementation of “minimum public health standards,” including “good hygiene, frequent hand-washing, observance of physical distancing, and maintenance of good ventilation, especially in indoor settings.”
On Wednesday, November 2, all public schools in the country should implement five days of face-to-face classes, as ordered by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte. She considered the resumption of in-person classes in the country as a major accomplishment in her first 100 days in office. Although the resumption of face-to-face classes was long overdue, as students were not learning under the distance education setup.
In September, Marcos allowed the voluntary wearing of face masks in outdoor settings, a move opposed by top Philippine medical experts. They said that it would send the wrong message to the public that they “should not be afraid of COVID-19 anymore.” (READ: Outdoor wearing of face masks now optional in the Philippines) – Rappler.com