DepEd, CHED approval needed before using schools for quarantine

MANILA, Philippines – The approval of the Department of Education (DepEd) or the Commission on Higher Education (CHD) are needed before local governments may use public schools as quarantine spaces for novel coronavirus cases and persons under investigation (PUIs).

"That cannot be automatic.... It needs the permission of CHED and DepEd," Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said in a Malacañang press briefing on Wednesday, March 25.

Año said a memorandum of agreement should be signed by the local government and the local offices of DepEd or CHED. They have to iron out how facilities may be used, and who will pay for maintenance and damage to facilities. 

Año issued the instruction as local governments eye empty schools and universities to house positive and PUI patients in case hospitals reach overcapacity and become unable to accomodate patients in the future. 

Several hospitals in Metro Manila — the center of coronavirus outbreak in the country — have reached maximum capacity and are "no longer capable" of accepting new coronavirus cases.

Año said the the local governments and local offices of CHED and DepEd should not have problems expediting the necessary paperwork. 

As of Tuesday, March 24, 552 people in the Philippines have been confirmed to be infected by the novel coronavirus, with 35 deaths. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.