Bong Go

Bong Go reminds schools to observe health standards

February 18, 2022 People's Journal 300 views

SENATOR and member of the Senate Committee on Basic Education Christopher “Bong” Go reminded school officials and educators to strictly implement the Required Health Standards for COVID-19 Mitigation jointly issued by the Department of Education and Department of Health as they transition back to in-person teaching.

Go recognized the devastating effect of the prolonged school closures, including learning and productivity losses. However, in light of the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, he underlined the need to balance education requirements and the broader health concerns of the public.

In particular, the lawmaker called on schools to improve their ventilation strategies and ensure physical distancing of at least one to two meters, in addition to observing proper mask use and good hand hygiene routines within the school premises.

“We will take this one step at a time so that we can protect the safety of our students. Huwag natin biglain and let us assess what happens. Kahit ayaw nating maantala ang klase nila, importanteng safe ang mga estudyante,” said Go.

“Health and safety pa din ang importante. Sa kagustuhan nating makapag-aral ang mga bata, ‘wag natin kalimutan na unahin palagi ang interes, kapakanan at buhay nila at ng bawat Pilipino,” he stressed.

On January 18, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of DepEd to expand the implementation of face-to-face classes in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2. Classes will be automatically suspended should an area fall under Alert Level 3 or higher.

Schools may only resume on-campus operations at full or limited capacity if they can pass the School Safety Assessment Tool and comply with the standards and mechanisms set under the Framework of Shared Responsibility adopted by the government. Local government units must also provide their consent and be prepared to cooperate. Students should likewise have the consent of their parents or guardians.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go reiterated the importance of vaccinating all qualified learners to ensure the safe resumption of face-to-face classes. He reiterated his appeal to health authorities to step up their vaccination efforts and increase access to the vaccines for young people to minimize transmissions and sustain in-person learning in the long term.

He suggested that schools and colleges be provided with additional resources to host vaccine clinics to get more young people vaccinated in light of the launch of the vaccination drive for children between the ages of 5 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 18 years.

“Pagdating sa mga bata, takot talaga ako. Unang-una hindi pa sila bakunado. Pangalawa, hindi natin kontrolado ‘yung galaw nila at pangatlo, baka mag-back to zero na naman tayo. Kaya ngayon na pwede na magpabakuna ang mga bata, ‘wag natin sayangin ang oportunidad na ito na proteksyunan sila mula sa sakit,” appealed Go.

“Lagi natin alalahanin na hindi kaya ng gobyernong mag-isa ang laban kontra pandemya. Hindi rin kakayanin ng mga frontliners kung patuloy na dadami ang dinadala sa mga ospital. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 starts with us being responsible citizens by getting vaccinated and following the health and safety protocols,” he stressed.

The senator had previously underscored the need for clear and consistent protocols to guide local authorities and schools in deciding how the limited reopening of classes can be managed in accordance with the level of risk of COVID-19 exposure within their communities.

He maintained that schools should not be forced to open against the advice of health experts and called on the government to ensure that schools have the essential support and resources, such as masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment.