Mayor Honey Lacuna said public schools in Manila will fully comply with the minimum public health and safety protocols as the city prepares for the resumption of face-to-face classes on Monday, Aug. 22.
In an interview with ANC on Friday, Aug. 19, Lacuna said the local government and the public school boards have met and discussed, among others, recommended policies that will ensure all stakeholders follow the health standards.
Among the issues raised were the groups of parents who will huddle outside of the school to wait for their children. Lacuna said she advised the school board superintendent to ask parents, most of whom live nearby the school, to go home and come back only during dismissal time.
For recess and lunch, they suggested that students do not eat together with their schoolmates to reduce the risk of contact.
Some of the public school classrooms also still have plastic barriers attached to desks as extra precautions for the kids.
“One of the considerations is our students are between the five to 11 [age] range who, most of them, haven’t been vaccinated yet. Mababa po kasi ang percentage ng ating vaccination sa ating five to 11 (The vaccination percentage for the age group is still low),” Lacuna said.
The mayor noted that conducting temperature checks on students may be lenient because it is “time-consuming and would be difficult to do given the influx of students entering the schools.”
“However, safety officers will be periodically monitoring our students before, during, and after classes,” she said.
The mayor said they will deploy healthcare workers and install vaccination stands near the schools where students, and parents may easily access and avail of their booster shots.
“In Manila, we have a lot of health centers situated in our communities and near our schools. So that would not be any problem for us,” she said.
Based on their observations, Lacuna noted that most parents are apprehensive of their children getting vaccinated.
“We ask our teachers, if they have ample time to do it, especially during the first few weeks of classes, to ask the students if they’re vaccinated. It’s also one way for us to know, and encourage them,” she said.
Having teachers encourage kids to willingly ask their parents to get them vaccinated may help ease the parents’ worries, she added.
Around 37 out of 107 schools can conduct full face-to-face classes.
Aside from their regular classes, physical education (PE) classes will continue, and contact sports are allowed.
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