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DepEd: 1,638 students, 2,830 staff infected with COVID-19

The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Wednesday, March 3, it recorded a total of 4,468 cases of COVID-19 infections among its students and personnel.

At a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said that of the total, 1,638 are students while 2,830 are teaching and non-teaching personnel.

He mentioned the figures while presenting the plans of the department, should they be allowed to start the pilot test of limited face-to-face classes.

Senators on Monday filed a resolution seeking the "immediate launch" of pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes in the 1,605 schools identified by the DepEd.

Screen grab from Senate YouTube stream

In filing the resolution, the senators said "prolonged pandemic school closures have adversely affected the learners' education," and have impacted the most vulnerable and poor students "more severely."

However, Rappler in its story in December 2020 found that not all schools in the country have the basic health facilities to allow for a safe return of students to schools.

For instance, only 28% of the 47,013 or 13,081 schools in the country have a clinic. Some 2,900 schools don't even have basic handwashing facilities.

Philippine schools have stopped face-to-face classes for almost a year now, forcing students and teachers to shift to distance learning. (READ: FAST FACTS: DepEd’s distance learning)

The implementation of distance learning, however, has been widely criticized, as the country appears to be not fully prepared for it. This is evident in the difficulty of teachers to cope with the new mode of instruction, lack of access of a number of students to gadgets needed for the shift, and reports of erroneous learning modules.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, February 28, again reiterated that he will not allow the resumption of face-to-face classes even as the country started its vaccination drive against COVID-19 with donated doses from China. – Rappler.com

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.

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