Almost all members of a family of public school teachers here got infected by COVID-19, less than two weeks before the start of classes.
It started when one of them attended a session with her co-teachers as they prepared their modules for the shift to online classes, and contracted COVID-19.
Then one by one, the other teachers in the family – including their elderly parents – were infected.
In the end, only two family members were spared.
One of the members of the family decided to divulge his name to speed up contact tracing and to tell his story as well. Baguio City Mayor Magalong and the Baguio City Public Information Office shared his story on their official Facebook pages.
Writing in Filipino, public school teacher Norberto Rodillas said he believed that he got the disease from a family member.
"Ako ay isang taong nahawaan ng nakakamatay na sakit, ang COVID-19. Noong una halos hindi ko alam ang aking gagawin. Ako ay nalungkot, natakot at halos umiyak (I got infected by the deadly disease, COVID-19. At first, I was almost at a loss on what to do. I was saddened, afraid, and on the verge of tears)," he wrote.
He said this parents and sibling were in the hospital due to COVID-19. He added that his aunt was also sick.
The first record of infection in their purok was on July 25. The Baguio Health Department said that the active cases in the purok were confined to the extended family.
Rodillas said that despite the tragedy in the family, they did not experience any discrimination.
"Mga magagandang messages ng aking kapwa guro, kaibigan, kumare, kumpare, at kamag-anak ang siyang nagbibigay lakas at sigla sa akin habang nasa hospital ako (The wonderful messages from fellow teachers, friends, and relatives have given me strength and energy while I'm in the hospital)," he said.
"You can spike your disease," one of his students told him in a Facebook post.
Rodillas is a volleyball coach.
A teachers' group had earlier demanded assistance from the Department of Education (DepEd) for COVID-19 treatment for public school teachers, following reports that several teachers have contracted the virus while being asked to report physically in schools.
While the DepEd said it has no budget specifically allotted for the treatment of teachers who contract COVID-19, Vice President Leni Robredo has identified possible fund sources for this within the DepEd budget. (READ: Ahead of school opening, Robredo proposes solutions to readiness issues, teachers' concerns) – Rappler.com